You’ve probably been sleeping since the last full moon if you aren’t already bombarded with Karva Chauth-related activity. Observers are picking their outfits, preparing a feast and sending out invites. If you’re not aware of what it means, you’ve come to the right place. Karva Chauth is a one-day festival that is celebrated by many Hindu women, four days after the full moon in the month Kartik (according to the Hindu calendar). Like a lot of Hindu festivals, Karva Chauth is celebrated according to the astronomical positions of the moon, and does not rely on the Gregorian calendar.
Historically, Karva Chauth started off in the northern part of India. Back then, Hindu soldiers were fighting the incoming Mughals. With their husbands away from home, many women planned meetings for prayers. They would often dress up and cook special dishes to celebrate. The point of the prayers was to keep their husbands safe from the enemy.
Legend has it that during the period of Mahabhrata, Draupadi observed a fast, followed by Krishna’s advice, for the safe return of Arjun.
October 27 is the date for Karva Chauth this year. For married Hindu women, especially in North India, it is a significant festival. Traditionally, women maintain a day-long fast known as nirjala. This means they’ll have neither water nor any food. The festival goes with the belief of ensuring the safety and long life of their husbands.
While intended for married women, unmarried women can indulge in the festivities as well, in honour of their future husbands. Women celebrating Karva Chauth, break their fast only after they offer their prayers to the moon. During the ceremony, they are dressed in their best traditional attire and often sing songs around Karva Chauth.