Origin and Significance of Karwa Chauth

Karwa Chauth is a festival that almost every person in India knows about. It is the day when a wife observes fast from sunrise till moonrise. During this period, she doesn’t drink or eat anything. This fast is observed for the long and healthy life of her husband. And it is the husband who, after the moonrise, feeds the first morsel of food to his wife to break the fast. This festival is celebrated in several states in India, like Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and several parts.

Karwa Chauth Pooja Thali

Now, let’s look at its origin and significance.

Why is it celebrated?

According to Mahabharata, the first instance of Karwa Chauth can be traced back to when Savirti begged Lord Yama, the god of death, for the life of her husband. In another episode, it is mentioned that when Arjun left behind his wife Draupadi and his brothers, Pandavas, and went to Nilgiri hills to pray and meditate, Draupadi sought the help of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna suggested her to observe fast for his safety, and Draupadi adhered to it. Since then, the day has been celebrated for safety and better health of the husband.

Why the festival is called Karwa Chauth?

It is because the day is celebrated on the fourth day of the Hindu lunar calendar. Karwa means earthen pots in which wheat used to be stored and Chauth means fourth. Women buy matkas, or an earthen pot, few days prior to the festival and put on a new saree and bangles to dress beautifully on the day.

What is Sargi?

As per the rituals, the mother-in-law of the woman observing the fast gives a Karwa Chauth pooja thali to her. It contains all the items needed for pooja along with sweets or dry fruits that the husband is supposed to feed to his wife to break her fast.

What is the duty of husband on this day?

Traditionally, it is the husband who feeds his wife the first morsel of food to break her fast. However, in the current times, several husbands observe the fast along with their wife as a gesture that they love their wife too and would not eat the whole day if she can’t eat as well. This is, however, optional and not a part of the ritual. Some husbands even give their wife a sweet Karwa Chauth gifts after the fast is broken.

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