Karwa Chauth, another gift to the World from the country that had gifted “0” Zero and “.” Decimal, celebrating the complementary relationship between man and woman.
It’s a one-day festival celebrated by Indian women mainly in northern India, their counterparts in the south deferring a similar celebration called Thiruvathira to the month of Marghazhi or Margasira which falls typically in Dec-Jan, in which married women fast from sunrise to moonrise for the safety and longevity of their husbands. The festival falls on the fourth day after the full moon, in the Hindu lunisolar calendar month of Kartik in the north whereas in the south it falls on the full moon night in the month of Marghazhi. Since, we are celebrating the northern festival of Karwa Chauth today, this post is dedicated to the festival in the north.
There are many stories on the origin of this festival but all of them are unified in the fact that the woman is the protagonist for the day. She keeps a fast from sunrise to moonrise praying for the long life and good health of her spouse if she is married, or praying for the acquisition of a good husband if she is unmarried. With the acceptance of the western models of feminism, today this festival is derided as being regressive and patriarchal missing the point that union between man and woman in Hinduism is not contractual but spiritual. However, the beauty of Hinduism is that it has no frozen canons which cannot be broken at all. Hence, now, the concept has become very popular among Indian youth, particularly men who in the spirit of current day thought of providing equality to both men and women, either maintain the fast in solidarity with their wives if married, or perform fast for their fiancee or desired wives if unmarried.
The holy festival signifies the power of true love. It depicts that when there is integrity of commitment, divinity of feelings between lovers; they even can’t be separated by any force.
The concept has become very popular among Indian youth, particularly men who in the spirit of current day thought of providing equality to both men and women, either maintain the fast in solidarity with their wives if married, or perform fast for their fiancee or desired wives if unmarried
One of the stories around karwa chauth is the ancient story of true lovers King Satyavan and his wife Queen Savitri in Hinduism which exhorts billions of lovers around the world to celebrate this holy festival. King Satyavan, the great “Patni-Vrat” / devoted husband and Queen Savitri, the great “Pati-Vrat”/devoted wife are known for their undying commitment to each other. It is believed that Savitri, because of being truly a “Devoted-wife” bent the Gods with the power of her rigorous penance for her ill husband’s life. She challenged the Almighty God who had come for her husband’s life and won him over with her penance and devotion. God was eventually persuaded to restore her husband to life and the couple were blessed to be celebrated for eternity as the epitome of true love and devotion.
The festival is entirely Celebration of true love and is an integral part of Sanatana Dharma where life itself is considered as divine and celebrated in its many hues. The narrow lens of religious ritual does disservice to this great festival. The concept of performing the fast till observing the “Full Moon” at night is a divine experience and celebration of the moon as divine is a feature of other religions too.
If music be the food of love, play on!
If this single-day fast be the opportunity to celebrate Romantic love, go on!!