The warmth of festive season is at its peak. Beautifully attired women, with henna applied on their hands offering prayers to Moon for the long life span of her partner (Pati-parmeshwar), is a long known tradition in Hinduism. Yea I am talking about the pious fasting of Karva-Chauth, where married women fast for the long life of their husbands and maintain peace and prosperity among the family relations. Numerous beliefs and sentiments have been attached to this festival, varying as per geographical relevance and traditions.
Literally ‘Karva’ mean earthen oil lamp and ‘Chauth’ means four; thus this festival falls on the fourth day of the Kartik month according to the Hindu calendar. It is generally observed eight days after Dussehra. This is also the time when the onset of Rabi crops begin, so people used to gather together to wish and pray for a good harvest in this season.
Origin of Karva Chauth:
The initial significance of fasting on the day of karva Chauth was entirely different than what it has emerged with years. This festival was celebrated to symbolise the loving relationship between the bride and other women in her in-laws, who would be best-friends or sisters for life. As the girl was away from her parents and could not share her emotions with anyone in her in-laws, so she searched for her support and became friend with another lady. Now she could freely discuss her marital life as well as other stories, which leads to a strong bond between them. This festival was a signal to celebrate and honour their friendship between god-friends or god-sisters. Later the sentiments of fasting for the longevity of her husband were attached to this.
Scientific relevance of Karva Chauth:
The association between fasting by wife and increased life span of the husband is treated differently by various people. Few of them follow it because of traditional values and others might be reluctant and do it by force. So the clear picture is always a question wandering in our heads. Scientifically fasting has a biological relevance due to higher detoxification and protein synthesis in the body. As per the study of starvation-resistant biological program, it is proven that the stem cell potency and reproductive potential is preserved during the process. Whereas the high orgasmic frequency among human beings increase their span of living. Now if we attach both the results together, it is clear that fasting leads to longer reproductive capability among females and thus more sexual activity during her long life. It directly affects her partner, thus increasing his life expectancy.
Along with this, praying to Moon during Kartik month has extra benefits as the coolness and calmness provides us with better body metabolism. The heat and energy in the body is controlled which in turn is concerned with the digestive, enzymatic, and endocrine systems.
Thus the nirjalahaar (without food and water) vrat along with ‘sargi’ (food before observing fast) and ‘baayna’ (gifts offered to in-laws) results in maintaining a precious bond between families. It provides will power to the females and reciprocates their love for her husband. The mythological importance has also been mentioned in Mahabharata, where Draupadi inquires about the fast from Lord Krishna.
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja
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