All of you may know about Karwa Chauth and they celebrations associated with it but, have you ever thought about the origin of this festival? The name Karwa Chauth is formed of two words 'Karwa' and 'Chauth', where Karwa means earthen oil lamp and Chauth means four. The day falls on the fourth day of Kartik month in Hindu calendar. This is also a harvest time of year, where people like to celebrate and meet friends and relatives. This festival also coincides with Diwali celebration, which comes nine days after Karwa Chauth. Although Karwa Chauth was initially celebrated as special bond shared between bride and a woman in her in-laws household, gradually new aspect of celebration emerged out of this ancient custom. Today, it is observed more as an occasion to seek blessings from almighty for the long life and overall well being of one's husband. Even though the original custom of celebrating Karwa Chauth has greatly changed from what it used to be in the past, it still holds relevance to present day meaning of observing fast for the well-being of a husband. Read on and learn more about this festival.
How The Tradition Began
The history of Karwa Chauth dates back to ancient times. It is believed that Karwa Chauth was originally followed as a ritual signifying the relationship between bride and a woman in her- in laws household. In olden days, when bride leaves her parent's house after marriage, she looks out for friendship with another woman in her husband's household to share her emotions and problems. Her friendship with a woman in household is usually solemnized in the marriage ceremony and they are considered as sisters thereafter. They continue to hold this relationship for lifetime. Initially, Karwa Chauth was observed to honor this relationship solemnized between bride and woman in her in-laws household. Gradually, it drifted away from its original meaning and many legendary tales were associated with this festival. Today Karwa Chauth is observed as a day of fasting for all married women for long life of her husband.
There is also wide speculation about how this festival came to be held only in north and north western parts of India. One premise states that Karwa Chauth usually falls in that time of year when folks depart for long-distance journey and even for military assignment. In the Sapta Sindhu region, the areas basically remain dry until the Monsoon is back. So, it is believed that women in that part of region started observing fast for the well being and prolonged life of their husbands who have set on a long journey from home. Secondly, this festivity also falls during wheat sowing period, that is, the onset of Rabi crop season. People used to store wheat in big earthen clay pots which are known as 'Karva'. So, it is believed that the concept of fasting might have started as a wish for reaping good harvest in this wheat sowing region.
Whatever the history have to say, Karwa Chauth is now celebrated with great pomp and is considered as a very auspicious occasion for women—both married and committed. This festival reinforces the bond of love between husband-wife duos and hence, is special for every married individual.