Being Women

Karva Chauth : A Festival Of Glamour and Eternal Love Stories

Karva Chauth celebrates a beautiful bond. The bond between a husband and wife and the bond of sisterhood

“Kahe jo karava chauth kahaanee| Taas gadaharee nishchay jaanee|| Kare ekaadashee sanjam soee| Karava chauth gadaharee hoee||”

What is Karva Chauth

Karva Chauth is a one-day Hindu festival celebrated mostly in North India. On this day, women pray and fast for the long lives of their husbands. Though it is mainly celebrated in the North Indian states, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh – other states have similar celebrations. Atla Tadde in Andhra Pradesh and Savitri Vrat in Orissa/Bihar to name a few.

“Karva” means ‘pot’ and “chauth” means ‘fourth’ in Hindi. The festival is observed on the fourth day of the dark fortnight, or Krishna paksha, of the month of Kartik.


There are several stories about the origin of Karva Chauth. The prominent among those are the following:

Satyavan and Savitri –

This is the story of how Savitri got back the life of her husband Satyavan from Yama – the God of Death.

Karwa –

On similar lines, Karwa saves the life of her husband by convincing Yama to curse the crocodile who was the cause of the death of her husband. 

Queen Draupadi-

Draupadi is said to have observed Karva Chauth for Arjuna – on the guidance of Krishna – when he went to the Nilgiri mountains for self-penalty.

Queen Veeravati –

The most interesting of all is the story of Queen Veeravati, who was tricked into breaking her Karva Chauth fast by her brothers. They could not see her suffer due to fasting. However, this led to the death of her husband. She then narrated the story of trickery to Goddess Parvati. Noting the woman’s devotion, the Goddess restored the life of her husband.

The Rituals

The festival could be pretty exciting as it involves elaborate preparations days in advance by buying karva lamps and plates. How can we forget the beautiful attire and jewellery that goes with the essence of the festival – not to forget the beautiful mehendi adorning the delicate hands.

On the day of the festival, the women have a pre-dawn meal called “sargi”. That constitutes pretty much everything they would have that day – no food or water till the moon rises. I am sure that to everyone who is observing the fast, the moon is a precious gem that day.

During the day, the women gather in the spirit of sisterhood to celebrate this bond of love – nothing less than Valentine’s Day (albeit without husbands). The day is spent in doing puja, painting mehendi, and listening to the stories of Karva Chauth.

The actual moment of celebration arrives when the moon appears. The wife is supposed to see her husband’s face through a sieve before she can break her fast. How romantic is that! It reminds us of the iconic scene from “Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge”.

The Bond

This festival celebrates a beautiful bond. The bond between a husband and wife and the vows of eternal love. It highlights the pure and eternal bond of love between couples. Though the festival is meant for women, men also participate by keeping fasts, pampering their better halves, and showering them with love and affection.

The bond of sisterhood is another hallmark of this popular festival. The rituals provide a chance for women to befriend each other and celebrate the bond of sisterhood and communal bonding. In the earlier days, the tradition was of much importance to the newlyweds as it provided them a chance to know each other better.

The Glamour Quotient

When we speak of Karva Chauth, how can we forget the scene between SRK and Kajol? Immortalized by “tujhe dekha to yeh jana sanam”, the film has highly glamorized the festival. It is no longer a “North-Indian” festival these days. Who does not want to be a Kajol and Shahrukh?

We have also seen the grand observance of Karva Chauth in other Bollywood films such as

  • Ishq Vishq starring Amrita Rao and Shahid Kapoor
  • Baghban starring Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini
  • Biwi no 1

Let us continue to celebrate this bond of love and sisterhood and keep the traditions of India alive.


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