Monday, 21 October 2013

Rituals ,Traditions and the auspicious time for Karwa Chauth puja

Rituals and Traditions
The Karwa Chauth starts with the giving of SARGI by the mother-in-law to her daughter-in-law. If they live in different cities, usually money is sent as a token  but now a days with so many gift portals SARGI can be gifted online.
Gifting of Sargi is not a mere ritual. It is an important gesture between the two most important females in the life of a man—his mother and his wife. This ritual marks the binding of the  mother-in-law to her daughter-in-law and can be a strong string of emotion between the two. It is the blessing of a mother for her children .
Remember the movie Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum
I think the wisdom of this ritual has been really overlooked. Perhaps this ritual was to ensure  the happiness and  well being of a daughter-in-law/ wife  to   ensure the happiness of the man and his  family.
The Start Of The Day
On this day the women get up very early in the morning. They prepare the food. Although traditionally the mother-in-law gets the food ready but everybody gives a helping hand. And with the nuclear families in the big cities and for those who live in other countries, the husbands are known to help their wife’s.
After getting the food ready women bathe(head bath is a must) get ready and  the  rituals are started. It commences with the breaking of the coconut and  worship of  Shiva, Parvati, Ganesh, Kartikeya and the moon. The blessings of the Gods are invoked for longevity and prosperity of the husbands and the family.
Chaturthi Tithi Begins = 22.47 on 18/Oct/2016
Chaturthi Tithi Ends    = 19.32 on 19/Oct/2016
Dressing Up
In the evening, the women  cherish the joy of adorning bridal finery. The women wear clothes and jewelry as if it is marriage time. However it is essential to have a well decorated or embroided dupatta to cover the head  for the puja in the evening.
 Many times, the newly wed wear their wedding dress on this auspicious occasion,be it  be  the ghagra-choli or the heavy  Banarsi saris.

Evening Puja
Before evening, the married woman receives the baya or a basket full of goodies from her parents, which is meant for the mother-in-law. The basket contains sweets, mathadi, fruits and a gift…..anything  a sari, a shawl or even money.
 Before the sun sets, most of the women in a locality gather  at one place, preferable the local temple or in some  one’s  house and prepare a platform for the puja. This puja chowk is beautifully decorated . On this, the image of  Ambika Gauri Mata or Goddess Parvati is placed. In the olden days, this image was made of cow-dung.

The Process Of Puja
The women sit around this image with their bayas in the puja thali along with a  four sided Diya filled with ghee. The Diya is made with kneaded wheat  flour. Each woman also places a karva or a pitcher (a steel glass maybe used ) full of water in front of her.
 A red thread is tied around the karva or the pitcher or the glass.
 Sindor (Kumkum) tikka is applied to the karwa as well as to the Diya.
Then Rice is  applied to the Karwa.
 At the beginning of the puja, women apply the roli teeka to Goddess Gauri and also to themselves.
Sindor (Kumkum) is applied to the goddess .
With the thumb and the third finger of the right hand, water is sprinkled on the image of the goddess.
 Lastly, rice is showered on the  Goddess image. 

The essentials of this gathering is  listening of the Karwa chauth story
Every one lights an earthen lamp in their thalis while listening to the Karwa story.
Depending on region and community, a version of the story of Karwa Chauth is narrated, with regular pauses. The storyteller is usually an older woman or a priest, if one is present. In the pauses, theKarwa Chauth puja song is sung collectively the singers perform the feris (passing their thalis around in the circle).
The first six describe some of the activities that are taboo during the fast and the seventh describes the lifting of those restrictions with the conclusion of the fast. The forbidden activities include weaving cloth (kumbh chrakhra feri naa), pleading with or attempting to please anyone (ruthda maniyen naa), and awakening anyone who is asleep (suthra jagayeen naa). For the first six feris they sing
...Veero kudiye karwara, Sarv suhagan karwara, Aye katti naya teri naa, Kumbh chrakhra feri naa, Aar pair payeen naa, Ruthda maniyen naa, Suthra jagayeen naa, Ve veero kuriye karwara, Ve sarv suhagan karwara...
For the seventh feri, they sing
...Veero kudiye karwara, Sarv suhagan karwara, Aye katti naya teri nee, Kumbh chrakhra feri bhee, Aar pair payeen bhee, Ruthda maniyen bhee, Suthra jagayeen bhee, Ve veero kuriye karwara, Ve sarv suhagan karwara...
In Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, participants exchange karwas seven times between themselves. In Rajasthan, before offering water seven times the fasting woman is asked "Dhai?", to which she responds, "Suhaag na Dhai". An alternative ritual conducted by Uttar Pradeshis is prayer of "gaur mata" the earth. Specifically, celebrants will take a bit of soil, sprinkle water, and then place kumkum on it, treating it as an idol/manifestation of the fertile Mother Earth.
Thereafter, the fasters offer baayna (a melange of goodies like halwa, puri, namkeen mathri, meethi mathri, etc.) to the idols (mansana) and hand it over to their mother-in-law and receives her blessings.
This year the Karwa Chauth Puja Muhurat = 17:43 to 18:59
Duration = 1 Hour 16 Mins
 The fera ceremony concluded, the women await the rising of the moon.
The expected Moonrise On this year Karwa Chauth Day = 20:51
Once the moon is visible, depending on the region and community, it is customary for a fasting woman, with her husband nearby, to view its reflection in a vessel filled with water or through a sieve, or through the cloth of a dupatta .
Water is offered (arka) to the moon (som or chandra, the lunar deity)along with some sweets(best would be sugar or mishri) to secure its blessings.The offerings are made seven times.  She then prays and ask God for blessings for the love and affection of her husband and that she be a “Suhagan forever”.Tranlated it would mean till death do us apart.
She also prays for the prosperity of her husband  and a long life for him and She then turns to her husband and views his face indirectly in the same manner. In some regions, the woman says a brief prayer asking for her husband's life. It is believed that at this stage, spiritually strengthened by her fast, the woman can successfully confront and defeat death (personified by Yama).
 In Rajasthan the women say "Like the gold necklace and the pearl bracelet, just like the moon may my suhaag always shine brightly."
It is customary to touch the feet of the husband and it is very appropriate that the husband embrace his wife  as his token of love.
Touching feet ??Many feminist  would object to this, but this is a form of respect for our elders, so why we should scorn touching the feet of the husband.
The husband now takes the water from the thali and gives his wife her first sip and feeds her with the first morsel of the day (usually something sweet). The fast is now completed, and the woman has a complete meal.
I hope the information provided is helpful. Please do provide feedback.
Next important festival is the festival of lights and I shall be sharing  lots of information on Diwali.
And a very happy  Karwa Chauth to all.

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