Karwa Chauth is an annual ritual observed by married women to seek blessings for long-life of their husbands. In this ritual, married women observe fast from dawn to dusk, that is, starting the fast after sunrise and ending it with the appearance of moon at night. There are many legends attached to this festival. The tradition of observing fast for one's husband finds mention in the legend of Mahabharata, the tale of queen Veervati, the legend of Karva and tale of Satyavan and Savitri. In all these tales, wives were able to change the destiny their husbands by observing strict fast with devotion. Seeing the immense merits and boon of redeeming the life of a husband in these legendary tales, the tradition of Karwa Chauth is observed with great fervor and devotion by married women in India. Whatever the legend behind this festival, the significance of this festival is that the herculean fast observed by the wife shows the love and devotion towards her husband and this selfless act definitely has a positive effect on the marital relationship.
Stories About The Festival
The Legend Of Queen Veervati
Queen Veervati, the only sister of seven brothers, came to her parent's house to celebrate her first Karwa Chauth. She followed the ritual of observing fast after sunrise and was keenly awaiting the appearance of moon. In mid-way, she developed strong craving for food and water. Seeing her anguish, her brothers placed a mirror in a peepal tree that made it look like a moon. Queen Veervati mistook the mirror for moon and ended her fast. Soon after this, a message arrived that her husband had died. Inconsolable, Queen rushed back to her husband's house. Along the way, Lord Shiva and his consort, Parvati appeared before her and told her that she had been deceived by her brothers. Queen then pleaded for forgiveness. Shiva and Parvati assured queen that her husband would be brought back to life only when she observes strict fast ritual. This time Queen followed the ritual strictly and was able to redeem her husband's life from death.
The Legend Of Satyavan and Savitri
This legend entails the story of a strong-willed woman Savitri, who fought with destiny to bring her husband back to life. Lord Yama came to the door of Savitri looking for Satyavan's soul, as he completed his time on earth. Savitri pleaded for her husband's life. When Yama begged off the request, Savitri ceased to take any food and water. Yama then pledged to grant her any wish except the life of her husband. Savitri then requested Yama to bless her with children. Since Savitri was a devoted wife who would never allow any other man to be father of her children, Yama had no other option but to bring back the life of her husband.
The Legend From Mahabharata
In Mahabharata, at one time Arjuna had left for Nilgiris and in his absence, Pandava brothers faced lot of troubles. Draupadi sought help from Lord Krishna where he advised her to observe Karwa Chauth citing tales of Shiva and Parvati. Draupadi followed the instructions of Lord Krishna by observing Karwa Chauth. Finally, Pandavas were able to get rid of the problems.
The Legend Of Karva
This legend entails the story of devoted Karva, who was bestowed with special powers because the deep love towards her husband. Once, her husband was seized by crocodile while taking bath on the banks of river. Karva rushed to the river and tied the crocodile with cotton yarn and pleaded Yama (the Lord of death) to send the crocodile to hell. When Yama refused, she warned that she would curse Yama. Knowing about her special powers, Yama relented and sent the crocodile to hell. Thus Karva was able to reunite with her loving husband.
Mentioned above are most popular legends associated with Karwa Chauth. All these stories propagate that if a strong-willed woman with complete devotion to her husband is powerful enough to change the destiny.