Karwa Chauth(Hindi: करवाचौथ) is theannual one-day festival celebrated by Hindu women inNorth Indiawhether livingin India or abroad . It is also celebrated in many parts ofPakistan.Karwa Chauth is also known as KarakChaturthi.
Chauth coincides with Sankashti Chaturthi, a fasting day observed for Lord
married women who are observing the fast worshipLord Ganesh , Lord Shiva , Goddess
Parvatiand their son Kartikeya.
The word Karwa
means earthen potand Chauth means fourth in Hindi. Thus, the
festival falls on the fourth day after thefull
moon during Krishna Paksha Chaturth in the Hindu month of Kartik and the Karwa
is used in the worship rituals. Karwa symbolizes happiness and prosperity.
In modern North Indian society,Karwa Chauthis considered to be a romantic festival, symbolizing
the love between a husband and wife.It
has been celebrated inBollywoodmovies such asDilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge,
KabhiKhushi Kabhi Ghum, Biwi no1 ,Baghban and many more. Similar toValentine's Day, the lack of romantic partner isacutelyfelt.
The festival is used extensively in advertising
campaigns , for instance in aChevrolet
TV spotin which a man
demonstrates hislove for his wife by
buying a car with a sunroof so he can drive her around onKarwa Chauthnight until she spots the moon through
The festival has been criticized as being
inherentlysexist , "anti-women" and to
"perpetuate the notion of women's dependence on men."Karwa
chauthhas been cited as a
symbol of cultural repression of women by some Indianfeminists, such asMadhu
Kishwarwho has put it in the
same class as "Khomeinivad" (i.e., pushing women into position of
subservience to their husbands, similar to the family structure allegedly
favored byAyatollah Khomeini).
Other feminists, however, have called the
festival empowering for women becauseKarwa
Chauth is an occasion when the
women are at the centre of celebrations and are gifted special food, which
essentially contains goodies, milk, fruits and dry fruit and enables
them to rest and quit housework completely for the day . This is further
reinforced by application of heena on both hands andfeet. Womenget time for themselvesgoing
through thebeauty regimesand dressing-up which are a significant part
of the day . NO mother-in-laworhusband wouldobstruct observance of the fast !
And with the changing times many husbands are
known to fast along with their wife.
this day married
womenfastfrom sunrise till themoonrise. The fastisobservedfor the safety,
prosperity, love and thelong lifeof their husbands . The first fast after
marriage has great importance.
Manyunmarried womenwhose marriage
has been fixedor who have been engaged
observe the fast for theirfiancés.
Even young girls are seen to fast for their future husbands although
traditionally it is forbidden.
It is uncertain how the festival originated
and how it came to be celebrated only in the northwestern part of the Indian
subcontinent. One hypothesis is that military campaigns and long-distance
travel usually resumed around the time of the festival, as the area dried and
numerous rivers of the region subsided from the effects of themonsoon. Women observed the fast to
pray for the safety & success of their husbands at this time as they
ventured away from home.
Another view is that the festival coincides
with the wheat-sowing time (i.e., the beginning of theRabi cropcycle). Big earthen
pots in which wheat is stored are sometimes calledkarwas, so the fast may have
begun as a prayer for prosperitythrough
good harvest in this predominantly wheat-eating region.
Whatever the reason it is the festival of love and romance, which binds the couples.