The most beautiful part of our country is its rich and varied culture. Every festival imaginable is celebrated here with great pomp and joy. And above all, with a great spirit of togetherness and love! From Navratri, Dhanteras, Eid, Christmas to Gudi Padwa, India embraces all festivals with open arms. And one such festival coming soon is Karva Chauth. Yes! It is the festival of love! The festival conducted by women for the safety, well-being and long lives of their husbands. This festival is mostly observed by Punjabi and Sikh women. Today, this festival is celebrated in a grand style and is even depicted in movies as a larger-than-life phenomenon. But, where and how did the festival of Karva Chauth really begin? Read on to know more!
The Meaning of ‘Karva Chauth’
The term Karva Chauth can be broken into two parts. Karva which refers to ‘a small earthen pot of water’ and Chauth which means ‘fourth’ in Hindi. This serves as a reference to the fact that the festival falls on the fourth day after the full moon in the month of Kartik. This festival originated and came to be celebrated only in the northern part of the country. But do you know why the festival is celebrated?
The Story Behind it
It all began when military regimes and campaigns were being conducted by the Hindus to defend our country from Mughal invasion. These men had to go to far off places for war, leaving their wives and children behind. The women would often pray for their safe return and would fast to keep their husbands safe from the wrath of the enemy.
Most of us may not know this but the festival also coincides with the wheat sowing time. And hence the big earthen pots in which wheat is stored are also sometimes called Karvas. So the fast may have begun as a way for women to pray for a good harvest since the north is predominantly a wheat-eating region.
Another Legend Behind The Festival
That’s not all, there is also another story behind the origin of the festival of Karva Chauth. With the custom of arranged marriage being prevalent in India, the newlywed bride was supposed to reside with her husband and in-laws at a place that may be far away from their own parents’ house. So, being new to the family and having no one to talk to, the custom arose of befriending another woman as her kangan-saheli (friend) or dharm-behen (sister) for life. This emotional and psychological bond would be considered similar to a blood relationship and it is said that Karva Chauth is observed to celebrate this special bond of friendship!
Featured Image Source: Hindirush.com