Hindu women are very particular about the welfare of their family. They do all kinds of Poojaa, fasts, Yantra, Tantra, Yagya for it. There are several festivals in their list for this.
One of such festivals is Karavaa Chauth. It always falls on Kaarttik Krishn Chaturthee. This year it is today on 22-Oct-2013. This day the married women keep fast and pray for their husband's long life. Karavaa Chauth coincides with Sankashti Chaturthee, a fasting day observed for Ganesh Jee.
The fasting of Karavaa Chauth and its rituals are observed by married women for the long life of their husband, but the women who wish to marry soon, or whose marriage is getting late can also keep this fast - they pray for their early marriage.
How to Celebrate It
This festival's celebration starts from the previous day. Women apply Menhdee (hina) on their hands and feet the previous day. On the day of Karavaa Chauth they wear new glass bangles, their most beautiful dresses and jewelry and get ready to do Poojaa. Pooree, Kachauree, Pakodee of wheat flour with jaggery are made. Women take out some food and sweets along with some money and offer it to their elderly women as a respect and to receive their blessings. This is called Baayanaa. Those women bless the younger women to be with their husband lifelong. The Baayanaa pot is returned keeping something in it for the welfare of that woman's children.
All families have their own style of taking out this Baayanaa. Many families take out the Baayanaa of food items and sweets, or dry fruits etc. It is always accompanied with some money. It is customary to keep something else also with this food, sweets and money. People may keep some more food items, clothes or even jewelry for that woman to whom this Baayanaa is given. It is considered very auspicious and people do not normally refuse this Baayanaa because it is considered good fortune to have it.
Women worship Gauree (Paarvate Jee) and Ganesh Jee in the evening this day. Their fast starts from the night before Karavaa Chauth, means after taking dinner at night they do not eat anything throughout the night also. It is auspicious to eat some sweets after dinner. For the newly married girls this is done by their mothers or mother-in-law wherever they are. This fast continues for the next day, actual Chauth day. This fast is a bit hard as the women do not drink even water until the evening Poojaa is done. Pregnant women and new mothers can take milk once or twice in the daytime. They break their water fast after their evening Poojaa and food fast only after sighting and making the offerings to the Moon god. Moon rises this day a bit late - about 9.00 pm.
Several family women, or friends may do the Poojaa together in one woman's house. They change their Karavaa during the Poojaa. Karavaa Chauth story is also told and heard. If somebody is alone, she tells the story in a loud voice as it should be heard too along with telling.
Karavaa Chauth is also known as Karak Chauth. Karavaa or Karak refers to the earthen pot through which water offering, known as Arghya, is made to the Moon god. Karavaa is very significant during the Poojaa and it is also given as Daan (donation) to a Braahman or any eligible married elderly woman. Compare to South Indian states, Karavaa Chauth is more popular in North Indian states.
[See the Karavaa Chauth Poojan]