It was the festival of Karwa Chauth last Monday – the fourth day after full moon night in the month of Kartika as per the Hindu calendar. I have always been intrigued by the way Karwa Chauth is celebrated, thanks to the Hindi movies that have glorified it so much. However, this was the first time I actually saw people celebrating it. And I must say, it is a very, very sweet and romantic concept. 🙂
Usually, Karwa Chauth pooja is done by married women; however, it can also be done by unmarried girls. Mostly, Karwa Chauth is a festival of the Punjabis, but it is also celebrated in some other parts of India.
Traditionally, the girl celebrating the festival wakes up at the break of dawn on this day, bathes and dresses in red attire. Then she performs a pooja and eats food that has been given to her by her mother-in-law, which is known as Sergi. After that, rigorous fasting begins, without a morsel of food or a droplet of water for the whole day. The fast goes on till the moon is visible in the night sky. And then comes the cutest part of the fast. 🙂
The girl looks at the moon through a sieve and then closes her eyes. Then her husband stands in front of her and she sees him through the sieve. In other words, the girl does not see anyone else but her husband after seeing the moon. I don’t know what the significance of the sieve is, but I find the whole thing terrifically romantic. Then the husband offers water to the fasting girl with his own hands. She drinks it and breaks the fast. The whole family then dines together. If the girl is unmarried, she looks at the stars visible in the sky before breaking the fast. This fasting is believed to add to the life of the husband.
Traditionally, groups of women get together on this day and sing bhajans and do pooja the whole day; however, this is not very feasible in today’s times, as many women are working. It was rather sweet to see well-educated girls holding respectable positions fasting, working in spite of feeling weak and tired due to the fast. It was sheer willpower that I saw and tough determination.
I was never one for fasting. I don’t believe that someone’s fasting can add to the life of another person or reduce sins and so on. In spite of that, I loved watching the girls in action last Monday on Karwa Chauth. Looking beneath the surface, I found a lot of love and commitment towards the husbands.
And of course, how could I forget the best part of Karwa Chauth? The husband is supposed to gift something to his wife in return for praying for his long life. 🙂
I’ve heard that the moon harasses the girls every year on this day. On the night of Karwa Chauth, the much awaited moon comes out hours after it usually rises, or hides behind clouds and is not at all visible. It is almost as if the moon plays hide-and-seek with these girls to test their devotion.
Now don’t ask me why I did this post, because I don’t know. I just wanted to. 🙂