NEW DELHI: It is Karva Chauth today and married women across North India are decked up for the festival and eagerly waiting for the moon to rise.
For those of you who don't know much about it, this is a festival celebrated by married Hindu women, in which they fast from morning to moonrise for one day for the health and longevity of their husbands. It is considered to be one of the most sacred traditions for married Hindu women.
What is it all about?
The day starts early before dawn with prayers and a light meal offered by the woman's mother-in-law in the form of Sargi. Following this, women keep a day-long fast which they only break after worshiping the moon god.
This fast, however, is a little different from the other fasts that Hindus observe during festivals like Shiv Ratri, Janmashtami, and Navaratri, where people can consume fruits, juice and milk products. During Karwa Chauth, women do not eat or even consume a drop of water during the day.
How do they do it?
Considering the difficult nature of the fast, it's hard for the people who have never observed it understand just how women pull it off, year after year.
Well, look around, and you will see women in offices, schools and other workplaces keeping the fast and going about completing their errands like any other day. They make it look effortless, don't they?
Tradition meets glamour
In spite of being on a day-long fast, the womenfolk pull out the best of dresses, ornaments, and accessories for the religious rituals. With women dressed in bright coloured ethnic clothes, wrists full of bangles and hands and feet covered in beautiful curls and swirls of henna designs, the festival celebrates the beauty of a married woman in the true sense.
Yes, men participate too
Like many other traditions, Karva Chauth has also evolved with time. While it started as a custom that was strictly followed by women, men have started to participate and contribute to the festival in their own ways. Some believe in keeping the fast just as their partners do, while others make it up by taking their wives for a memorable dinner or cooking it themselves. A little bit of pampering never hurts. With all the Karva Chauth special sales and offers going on, it's hard not to indulge in a little bit of shopping. While a lot of women shop before the festival to get just the right look on a special day, it's also the time of the year when husbands buy gifts for their life partners as a token of their love.