Karva Chauth is one of the most popular Indian festivals and is mostly observed in the northern side of the country. It is a celebration of love, marriage and the unbreakable bond shared between a husband and wife. If we talk about the literal meaning of Karwa Chauth, it means offering ‘Argya’ to the moon using an earthen pot known as Karwa on the Chaturthi of the Kartika month. The festival falls on the fourth day of the dark fortnight in the Kartika month every year. It is also known as ‘Nirjala Vrat’. Karva Chauth is a one-day festival where married Hindu women observe fasts for the health and safety of their husbands. 

It begins with a small early morning prayer and is usually followed by “Sargi” – a food platter containing dry fruits, parathas, curry and coconut water. Women consume Sargi after their bath as it is believed to be a healthy meal that allows them to prepare for the day’s fasting. It keeps them energetic and allows them to stay without food or water for the entire day.  In evening they break their fast after making various offerings and sighting the moon, which is also one of the most important celestial bodies according to Hindu mythology. Women perform puja for their husbands before the moon sighting. After this, they see the moon through a sieve and then catch a glimpse of their husbands through the same sieve. It is also believed that when a wife looks at her husband through a sieve, all negative emotions are filtered through it. Women pray for the long life of their husbands and ask Lord Shiva to protect them from every harm or difficulties. It is also believed that this festival brings peace, happiness and joy into their married life. 

There are various tales and stories which shows the reason behind this celebration. According to one of such stories there was a beautiful queen named Veervati who was the only sister among seven loving and caring brothers.  On her first ‘Karwa Chauth’ she was at her parent’s house and doing Karwa Chauth fast. She was waiting eagerly in the evening for the moonrise as she was suffering from hunger and thirst. Seeing her suffering like this pained her brothers. They created a mirror with the Peepal tree in their backyard and tricked Veervati into believing that the moon had seen. She believed them and broke her fast. Unfortunately, news arrived that her beloved husband was dead. She was completely devastated and started running towards her husband’s house. She met Goddess Parvati on her way. Maa Parvati revealed that she was tricked by her brothers. Then she kept Karwa Chauth vrat with full devotion and by seeing her dedication ‘Yama’ the ‘Lord of Death’ restored life to her husband. This katha is quite popular and usually heard by women while observing the fast.

In recent times, husbands have also started observing fasts for their wives. The gesture has made the festival extra special as it signifies love, understanding and compassion from both sides.