Customs and Rituals

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One day before Karwa chauth mother-in-laws gives 'sargi' (a festive breakfast consisting of Jalebis, milk and Fenis etc.) to their daughter-in-laws which consist of MEHENDI, SINDOOR,
BINDI, REDRIBBON, COCONUT, SAVIYA, MITHAI, ALMONDS. If the girl is newly married she gets saris and jewelry.This sargi is eaten by women early in the morning. Following a bath early in the morning, well before dawn, the woman adorns new clothes. After eating the sargi they keep fast for the whole day-they do not eat even a morsel of food, neither drink a drop of water, from dawn till the moon rises. Finally, when the moon is sighted, the wife goes out to view it.They offer water to it sixteen times.The moon is worshiped and then she turns to view her husband's face through the pores of a sieve (channi), praying for his long life. After performing the puja, its finally time for food.

Karwa Chauth is quite popular among the newly weds. A few days before the festival, markets are full of items needed for the festival. The preparations for this festival start a week in advance.


Henna or Mehndi is considered to be auspicious for married women, and is a necessary part of the Karva Chauth ritual. It is believed that married woman who get dark color from mehendi will get a loads of love and caring from her groom. It also denotes prosperity and good luck. Women get intricate henna designs applied on their hands before they get down to the actual rituals. Most traditional henna patterns consist of very simple shapes - circles, triangles and lines are the most basic. These shapes can be combined to create a very intricate pattern and a very beautiful henna designs on the palm and feet of women.

The Steps To Apply Mehndi
1. Make a smooth henna paste by sifting the dry henna powder to remove any debris and adding to it a hot mixture of tea or coffee and mustard oil until it has a mud-like firmness.

2. After the paste is ready take a plastic cone with a very fine key-hole at the end (similar to a cake decorating tube). Pour the paste into the cone and tie the broader end with a rubber band.

3. Hold the cone in the right hand and gently squeeze the paste on the palm and start making patterns
Keep the palm horizontal and let the patterned-paste rest on it till dry.

4. Warm it near the fire and leave it on for as long as it takes to get the stains deeper.

5. When it is almost dry, dab a piece of cotton in sugar and lemon solution and apply lightly on the designs so it further darkens to a reddish-brown hue that can last for weeks.

6. After 2-4 hours wash off the hands with plain water.

KalashThe FastKalash

It is the most important and difficult fast observed by married Hindu women. (Unmarried women, widows, and spinsters are barred from observing this fast.) It begins before sunrise and ends only after offering prayers and worshipping the moon at night. No food or water can be taken after sunrise. The fast is broken once the moon is sighted and rituals of the day have been performed. At night when the moon appears, women break their fast after offering water to the moon.

KalashDressing up for Karwa ChauthKalash

Women dress up in their best finery, with henna-decked hands, bindis, colorful bangles, vermilion in their hair-parting and the best of jewelry. Often, the newly wed wear their wedding dress on this auspicious occasion, usually the ghagra-choli or Banarsi saris, embellished with the old-new shimmer of gold, diamonds and rubies. After dressing up, she receives gifts from the mother-in-law.

Change In The Trend of Karwa Chauth CelebrationsKalash

On Karva Chauth day, tens of millions of women keep a fast, taking neither food nor water, for the well being and long life of their husbands. The fast of Karwa Chawth truly sets the merry tone of the fun and frolic, festivity and feasting that come in good measure during Diwali - the biggest festival of the Hindus.Only after seeing the moon do the women break their day-long fast in the evening/night. Normally women go out of their houses and on their roof tops to see if the moon is up yet. Even the 'hip-hop' generation now celebrates the 'My Family' spirit, with Karva Chauth having become a cool fad among teenagers. For some of these youngsters it's a trend, for others it's pure devotion, and there are still others for whom it's just fun giving company to her mother who observes the fast.

In modern day, with all the trappings of commercialisation attached, Karva Chauth, the big fasting day has turned into a full-fledged event. The event is growing bigger with each passing day. Karva Chauth celebrations promise to grow bigger with each passing year. The Halwais, the Mehendi and Churiwallis have traditionally been busy on this auspicious day. But joining the bandwagon in recent times are the beauty parlour owners, the event management companies and the restaurant owners.

Karva Chauth special eateries are gearing up for now. Cashing in on the popularity of 'eating out' most restaurants have special menus for this special day. No wonder almost every happening-eating joint around town is offering plenty of attractive options to choose from. Various clubs organize special events on this festive day with various stalls, bumper Tambola and even a dance competition. With so much feasting and fun added to it, fasting had never been so good before.

In the olden days, a woman was dependent on a man. Whether he was her father, brother, husband or Guru. Without a man she was considered incomplete. Today that may not be the case. But it is still refreshing to see a loving wife or a loving husband.

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