Karwa chauth is an annual festival celebrated in north India and some parts of Pakistan. Hindus and some Sikhs celebrate this festival in which married women fast from sunrise to moonrise for the safety and long life of their husbands.
The preparations for the festivals start a few days before it. Women buy items for puja, cosmetics and mehndi for this special occasion. An interesting thing about this festival is that it is not celebrated on a fixed date. It is celebrated on the fourth day after the full moon in the hindu month “kartik” (which falls between 15th October to 15th November). Karwa is a word used for “dia” (or lamp) and chouth means forth. The festival is celebrated on 4th day after full moon and lamps are used in “puja” so that’s why this festival is named as “karva chouth”.
At the day of festival women get up early in the morning, just before the sunrise and had a meal as they have to fast whole day until moonrise. This meal is usually given by their mother-in-laws. Mother-in-law also gives her daughter-in-law other things including sindoor, bindi, and mehndi etc. Women don’t eat anything in fast and some of them don’t drink any water either.
Applying mehndi is an important part of this festival. Some people believe that Mehndi on a women hands and feet on the day of festival indicates that she will be successful in her married life. Some people also believe that the darker color of mehndi indicates the greater love and care from her husband.
Women apply cosmetics and mehndi to themselves and other women. They spend the whole day in meeting relatives and friends. Gifts are usually exchanged which includes bangles, ribbons or other small household items.
In evening a ceremony is held in which usually only women participate. In fact the whole festival is for women. In this ceremony, women wear fine dresses that are usually red in color and jewelry. Cosmetics and henna is also an important part of it. Men appear in this festival usually after moonrise.
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