Karwa Chauth, one of the most popular festivals is a religious festival that is celebrated by married women all over the country. Karwa Chauth is just a one day festival and the most important part about this particular festival is fasting. Women who are married observe fasts from sunrise till the moon rises and it is a popular belief among people that by doing so, they are praying for the safety and long life of their husbands. Karwa Chauth is usually celebrated in Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Harayana and also some parts of Uttar Pradesh as well. Metropolitan cities like Mumbai and Delhi also celebrate this festival with much pomp and dedication. Since these cities house people belonging to different cultures, you will get to witness grand celebrations here as well. Karwa Chauth falls in the Kartik month of Hindu lunisolar calendar and on the fourth day after a full moon is seen. And thus the dates of this festival changes every single year. Also Read - Crackers Are Passe, This BJP Leader Fired Shots in Air to Fulfil PM Modi's '9 Baje 9 Minute' Request, Booked

Photograph Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Photograph Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

This year Karwa Chauth falls on the 19th of October that is tomorrow and people have already started preparing for the same. As you walk down the streets you will see people selling Karwa which is an earthen pot and is also a part of the rituals of Karwa Chauth.  At the end of observing fast, a woman prays to the moon and then loks at her husband through a sieve. You will be surprised to know that there are several other festivals that are celebrated in different parts of India in a similar fashion but are called with different names. For instance, Teej and Chhath are festivals with similar celebrations styles as Karwa Chauth. Even women who are of marriageable age celebrate this festival. On this day women dress up beautifully and most women also get mehendi( henna)done on their hands. Each state also has their distinct style of celebrating this festival. For example, Punjab has a famous tradition of sargi( a plate that has food items including fruits) that is given by the mother in law. And in Uttar Pradesh, they prepare a unique dish called the soot feni which helps them sustain the next day without food and water. Let us tell you a bit about the significance of this beautiful festival that also has many stories associated with it. Also Read - Arjun Kapoor Supports PM Cares, Maha CM Fund, GiveIndia, FWICE in Fight Against COVID-19

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Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Though today, women celebrate this festival for the well being and long life of their respective husbands, it is said that the significance of this festival was something else initially. Obviously, as time passed, the significance got lost and it is no longer being observed for the same reasons as before. The festival was started with a very loving and kind idea. In earlier times, girls got married at a very young age and after marriage they had to live with their in laws in villages. At that point, if the girls faced any kind of problems they had nobody to talk to or share their problems with. And those days , the idea of phone calls, emails and transport hardly ever existed. So it was difficult to connect with any family members in case of any emergency whatsoever. Thus there was a new custom that was made which proved as a relief to all those married girls. The custom was when a girl is married off; she can make friends with other women who would be by her side all through her life like sister. The bride will have her through her thick and thin, just like good friends do. And this friendship used to be sanctified through a ceremony that is done right after wedding. The newlywed can confide in this friend for anything she ever needs and that is how Karwa Chauth started. This festival was once celebrated for this beautiful relationship that two women shared. The whole concept of fasting for husbands came in quite later and used to be a secondary practice in those days. This festival had a significant importance at a time when there were no modern ways of communication.

However, today it is celebrated for a different reason. While observing fasts, women are not allowed to even drink water till they pray to the moon. Young girls are also often seen observing fasts on this day to get a husband of their wish. On this day, even Shiva and Parvati along with Kartik are prayed to. Many women also hold a Gauri pujan on Karwa Chauth that also is of high significance. This year, however is said to be more auspicious than it ever was. It is said that observing fasts on Karwa Chauth 2016 will bring benefits that will equal to at least 100 fasts. And if you are also planning for a baby, this year is considered highly auspicious to observe a fast for the same.

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