Karva Chauth

Karva Chauth is the day when married women fast from sunrise to sunset for the protection and longevity of their husbands.

The festival is celebrated on the fourth day after Full Moon of Karthik month.

The festival is observed in the states of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.

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Women praying for this husbands

Etymology

Karva means a pot and Chauth means ‘fourth’ in Samskrt, an obvious reference the ‘fourth day after Full Moon’.

There is also a legend associated with the name Karva Chauth.

The legend

A woman called Karva was deeply in love with her husband. One day while bathing in a river, a crocodile caught hold of her husband. She prayed to Yama, the divinity of death, to release her husband from imminent death. Yama respecting her love and steadfastness, her Vrta, bestowed him back to her.

Such stories are replete in every culture, in every land, through the times.

Commemorating these stories, women observe Karva Chauth, with steadfastness Vrta, for the health, Ayush, life of their loved ones, starting from their husband.

A period of harvest and military campaign

A Jawan, soldier and a Kissan, farmer are the backbone of any civilization.

Karva Chauth falls around the period when the wheat is sown. Karva also means pot in some languages. Wheat is stored in pots. Karva Chauth is the day when women pray for a good harvest for their husbands, the Kissans, farmers, so that the Karvas are full.

In ancient days, the period around Karva Chauth was also the time when soldiers ventured out for military campaigns.  Women used to conduct prayers on Karva Chauth for the protection of their husbands during a battle.

War Window

In ancient times, there was a clear war window. During monsoon it was not possible to go to battle. Soon after the monsoons was the time to go to battle.

The Rama Ravana War was fought after south west monsoon.

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The Ramayana battle was fought post south west monsoon

The famous Mahabharata war at Kurukshetra was fought after the monsoons, before winter.

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Mahabharata War was fought post monsoons

India’s East Pakistan war of 1971, for liberation of Bangladesh, was also fought after the monsoons.

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The Bangladesh Liberation War also took place after the monsoons

Like this through the ages, post monsoon was considered an apt window to go to war.

Why only women observed Karva Chauth?

From those days, to the present days, it is mainly men who went to war and women stayed to look after the families, their farms, their other household activities. So it is natural, that the women prayed for the safe return of men folk, victorious in war. It was given this that Karva Chauth festival was observed by the women in this window.

There is also a legend associated with the name Karva Chauth.

For the sake of battle going men

In ancient days, it was not just the soldiers, the kshatriya who went to war, but also those belonging to other classes of the society. For example, the agriculturists and also went to battle to support their warriors.

This day was mainly observed for those husband folks who took part in a battle. It is this day that has permeated down to all classes of society as the Karva Chauth festival today.

Same festival, other places

Some of the other names, this observance is known by in other parts of the land being,

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Women Deified

In Pre-modern India, women observing Karwa Chauth were deified and worshipped. Paintings depict woman on fast as embodiment of Goddess.

Also, in this land, women are known for their valour and bravery. They don’t play with Barbie dolls, but with swords.

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Women as embodiment of Goddess

Selflessness and Steadfastness of Women

The observances such as Karva Chauth also show the selflessness of women, their caring nature and affection they have for their husbands, their family and society.

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Such timeless festivals showcase the steadfastness of women to their family and near and dear. They bring out the noble qualities of women wherever they are, whatever language they may speak, whatever they may eat, whatever they may wear and however they may look!

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