Karwa Chauth or Karak Chaturthi derives it’s name from Kartik Chaturthi which is the fourth day from the beginning of the pious month of Kartik, the month most dear to Lord Sri Krishna, the supreme personality of godhead.
Since Kartik month represents Srimati Radharani, it is most dear to Lord Madhava, her husband. This festival falls on the fouth day of Krishna paksha of Kartik month, hence it becomes more auspicious.
It falls nine days before the festival of lights, Deepawali. This fast is kept as a prayer for the longevity of the husband and an ever lasting loving relationship.
The Karwa chauth Vrat
On this day, the married women of the household keep a fast for their husband. At some places, the fiancee also keeps a fast for her would-be-husband.
They rise up early in the morning and take sargi which is sent by her mother-in-law. It comprises of sweets and milk items.
The whole day is kept as a complete fast, even from water and they become busy in decorating the house and themselves by putting all types of ornaments and colouring the handa with mehandi which is considered very auspicious for them.
They purchase all the items of Sringar a day before and get them ready to be worn in the evening time.
In afternoon, ladies of the house assemble to listen to the katha of Karwa Chauth Vrat and keep some earthen pots with them in which they keep on putting turmeric rice.
When the moon rises, they offer water to the moon, light a lamp and take blessings of the Lord and her husband.
After that, they all enjoy the sumptuous feast being cooked by her and thus, the fast comes to an end.
The story of Karwa Chauth
“A long long time ago, there lived a beautiful princess by the name of Veeravati. When she was of the marriageable age, Veeravati was married to a king. On the occasion of the first Karva Chauth after her marriage, she went to her parents’ house.”
“After sunrise, she observed a strict fast. However, the queen was too delicate and couldn’t stand the rigours of fasting. By evening, Veeravati was too weak, and fainted. Now, the queen had seven brothers who loved her dearly. They couldn’t stand the plight of their sister and decided to end her fast by deceiving her. They made a fire at the nearby hill and asked their sister to see the glow. They assured her that it was the moonlight and since the moon had risen, she could break her fast.”
“However, the moment the gullible queen ate her dinner, she received the news that her husband, the king, was dead. The queen was heartbroken and rushed to her husband’s palace. On the way, she met Lord Shiva and his consort, Goddess Parvati. Parvati informed her that the king had died because the queen had broken her fast by watching a false moon. However, when the queen asked her for forgiveness, the goddess granted her the boon that the king would be revived but would be ill.”
“When the queen reached the palace, she found the king lying unconscious with hundreds of needles inserted in his body. Each day, the queen managed to remove one needle from the king’s body. Next year, on the day of Karva Chauth, only one needle remained embedded in the body of the unconscious king.”
“The queen observed a strict fast that day and when she went to the market to buy the karva for the puja , her maid removed the remaining needle from the king’s body. The king regained consciousness, and mistook the maid for his queen. When the real queen returned to the palace, she was made to serve as a maid.”
“However, Veeravati was true to her faith and religiously observed the Karva Chauth vrat . Once when the king was going to some other kingdom, he asked the real queen (now turned maid) if she wanted anything. The queen asked for a pair of identical dolls. The king obliged and the queen kept singing a song ” Roli ki Goli ho gayi… Goli ki Roli ho gayi ” (the queen has turned into a maid and the maid has turned into a queen).”
“On being asked by the king as to why did she keep repeating that song, Veeravati narrated the entire story. The king repented and restored the queen to her royal status. It was only the queen’s devotion and her faith that won her husband’s affection and the blessings of Goddess Parvati.”