When I think about all the preparation that revolves around that one particular day celebrated each year I have to say I was thoroughly amazed at all the detail and the extent these women take just for their husbands alone.
What happens at a Karva Chauth Puja is they light the earthen lamp in the puja thali plates, chant mantras, read Karva Chauth Katha (story/the legend) and sing songs. The woman all sit in one big circle and attend to their style of worship and offer prayers to their deity, they seek blessings and pray for a long, blissful married life. A Priest or an elderly person in the group narrates the Karva Chauth Katha (story/legend) and after the story is over they rotate their “Puja Thali Plate” while reciting the “Karva Chauth” song. After the puja is over they return to their homes. Each woman has her own “Puja Thali Plate.”
The “Puja Thali Plate” is a beautiful work of art and would contain, dhoop (pure incense shaped into logs), kumkum (vermillion) chawal (rice) lota (a spherical water vessel made of brass, copper or plastic which is a container filled with water, a diya (an earthen lamp), chalni (a beautifully decorated sieve), flowers, camphor (a white crystalline substance), sandalwood powder and a pretty fancy peice of cloth or veil to cover the Thali Plate.
As they lift their beautifully decorated sieve and through their sieve they offer Prasad (dried fruits, almonds and/or cashew nuts) or snacks such as Mathi (deep fried Indian crackers) to the moon, and do the same to their husbands. The sieve may hold a little diya lamp.
The puja items purchased are a very important part of Karva Chauth. Items such as Karva (a picture of water), a diya (an earthen lamp), Matthi (an Indian deep fried cracker), Henna (a plant based dye that is used as a hair conditioner or used for tattoos or mehndi body art) and the Puja Thali Plate (is made of stainless steel or brass or hand painted plate.)
Puja is defined as reference, honor, adoration or worship. Puja is a religious ritual performed to offer to a certain deity, a special guest, a person of importance and puja’s are done daily at home or in a temple or some kind of important festival of some sort.
Karva is an earthen oil pot or diya lamp with a spout and Chauth means on the fourth day. The pot symbolizes peace and prosperity. This festival was first invented for newly married women to help create a bond with another married woman in the same village to help reduce the feeling of loneliness and to have someone else to share about the ups, downs and joys of married life. This holiday also provided for women to get closer to her husband’s family, because the newly married women often felt lonely and isolated when they moved away from their parents homes to their in-laws sasural (home or village). The fast for the husband was added later on because the husband was the reason why the woman bonded as life long friends in the first place.
I find this whole event to be wonderful for the spirit of family life, community and for the couple as a whole. This yearly event serves as reminder to be forever grateful for the spouse God has blessed and gifted you with, it’s just totally fascinating.
So I take away from these lovely ideas and a small scale plan to celebrate my own husband.
My Personal Karva Chauth
1- I will set aside a day each year other then our anniversary and call it “Husband Appreciation Day” and spend the day loving on my husband.
2- I will fast that day and pray for the safety, peace, prosperity and longevity of my husband.
3- Pay a maid to clean my house the day before, so that day I can make sure the house is really clean, tidy and smells really nice. (Holding onto one of the rules of Karva Chauth, which is no housework that day or 10 days before.)
4- I will cook a special sumptuous meal for him, which will be a man’s kind of meal like including a delicious steak in the menu and for us both to celebrate eating by candlelight.
5- I will bathe in the most delicious scents and put on a beautiful auspiciously colored (hot red) dress and shoes.
6- Wear beautiful jewelry.
7- Wear temporary henna designs on both my hands and feet.
8- Polish my nails and toes with a (hot) red polish.
9- Buy a sieve and decorate it beautifully.
10- We will go outdoors and look for the glow of the moon, and I will say a quick prayer to God for my husband as I look at his face thru the sieve.
11- Play some romantic loving soft music.
12- Make a simple card telling him all the things I appreciate about him.
13- Be warm, sweet, peaceful, happy, and cheerful to be around.
14- Let him know that every year the same time he should gift me on this day too.
15- Let him break my fast by feeding me a sweet piece of chocolate, strawberries and orange juice or strawberry punch.
I think that about covers it. 🙂
Here’s even further information and more detail about Karva Chauth.
- Mehndi Style (allbrides.wordpress.com)
- Durga Puja Thalis Make Ultimate Gifts on this Pious Occasion (giftsalove.wordpress.com)
- Hindu Mythology…a fascinating world of its own. (divyaramesan.wordpress.com)