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Karwa Chauth, celebrated tomorrow is a festival of great significance that is celebrated all over the country by married women and more so even girls who are of marriageable age. Usually Karwa Chauth always falls any day between October and November since this festival is celebrated on the fourth day of Krishna Paksh which is a dark fortnight according to the Hindu calendar month of Kartik. It is one of the most popular festivals in Northern India where women observe fasts for one whole day for their husbands longer life span. And girls who are of marriageable age usually observe fasts on this day to get a prospective ad desirable match. Unlike several other festivals, where you are allowed to consume fruits during fasts, on Karwa Chauth a woman goes without food and water till she sees the moon and offers prayers. Also because this period is a harvest time, they also make the most of this festival and visit friends and family. The celebration styles vary in different states of India. The basic celebration and fasting is the same, but there is also a distinct style of celebrating Karwa Chauth. And people are well aware of the many celebrations that can be seen on this auspicious day. But there are only few who may know the origin of this festival. Though today, Karwa Chauth is celebrated and observed by women for the well being of their respective partner, in earlier days there was an altogether different reason of celebration. Also Read - Earth Hour 2020: Rohit Sharma Wants Citizens to do Their Bit For The Planet on Saturday
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Origin of Karwa Chauth:
Karwa Chauth was first observed to celebrate the friendships between two women- one being a newlywed and the other woman who belongs to the in-laws household. This story is pretty interesting and lovely and this is how it goes. In ancient times, girls were married off at a very young age. Unlike today, they also had to live in villages with their in-laws which means, they hardly had anybody to turn to for any needs. Most of the times, when these young married women faced any kind of obstacle; they were left all alone with nobody to even talk to. Making phone calls or even traveling back to your family was not possible. Thus, came into existence this noble concept where the newly married woman could make a friend(kangan-saheli) in her in-laws household. And this friend would be more like a sister to her and be with her all through her problems and grievances to make her feel better. This friendship that is shared between both these women used to be solemnized in the marriage function itself and from there on they were called sisters. And Karwa Chauth was celebrated in dedication to this beautiful relationship. However this concept was lost somewhere and the whole idea of this festival is a wife fasting for her husbands long life.
Another story about the origin of Karwa Chauth is how this festival gained so much popularity in Northern India. It is believed that this festival falls at a time when most men would set on a long journey for military assignments. And hence women used to observe fasts on this day so that their husbands are safe and live long. These are some stories that are associated with Karwa Chauth. Apart from these, there are also some really interesting mythological stories as to how this festival came into existence. Let us take you through some of the mythological stories of Karwa Chauth and its origin.
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Legend of Karwa Chauth and its origin:
These are some of the fascinating traditional tales of Karwa Chauth and of how it all began. All these stories are in one way or the other interlinked. It is said that a woman called Karwa immensely loved her husband and was whole heartedly devoted to him. This intense love, loyalty and commitment gifted her with spiritual powers. One day when she taking bath in a nearby river, her husband in an unexpected turn of events was attacked by a crocodile. Witnesseing this horrific event, she immediately using her powers, controlled the crocodile using a cotton yarn. Meanwhile she requested Yama, who is the God of Death to send this creature back to hell. However, Yama refused and this enraged Karva. She warned him of a curse that will destroy him. Well aware of her powers and fearing the same, he agreed to her demands and sent the crocodile to hell. Yama also blessed her husband with a long life. After this incident, both Karva and her husband enjoyed a blissful married life for many years. And this is how Karva Chauth is celebrated till this very day.
Another legend of Karwa Chauth is that Yama had once come to take away Satyavans life and soul. Savitri who was Satyavans wife pleaded to him to give his life back. Yet again, like in the other story, Yama refused. Savitri , however was adamant and to make her wish come true, she completely stopped drinking anything and even eating. And she made it a point to follow Yama where ever he went with her husbands body. Yama upon seeing this asked her to demand for anything else but her husbands life. To which, Savitri asked him to bless her with children since she couldnt even imagine anybody else being the father of her kids. This left Yama with no choice and granted her wish and brought her husband back to life.
And the whole belief of fasting is associated greatly with Mahabharata. If these beliefs are anything to go by, it is said that Arjun had once traveled to Nilgiris for self mortification. During this period, the Pandavas had to face a lot of obstacles in Arjuns absence. This deeply saddened Darupadi and out of pure desperation she prayed to Krishna and asked him to help them. Krishna offered her help by reminding as to how Parvati had once observed fast for Shiva in similar situation and how it had helped her. Krishna asked Draupadi to do the same and she followed every instruction and observed a one day fast without missing out on a single ritual. And this fast had helped the Pandavas to overcome all their obstacles.
These are the many stories associated to Karwa Chauth and its origin. We don’t know how much of it is true, but all we know is that it is even today celebrated with dedication in India.
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