Karva Chauth is a Hindu festival traditionally celebrated by married women. The festival falls on the fourth day of the Hindu lunisolar calendar. ‘Karva’ means earthen pots used to store wheat and ‘chauth’ means the fourth day. On this day, married women and those reaching the marriageable age fast from sunrise to moonrise praying for the safety and longevity of their husbands, fiancés or desired husbands. In India, states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and parts of Uttar Pradesh observe the festival devoutedly.
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Women rigorously observe fasting and prayers on this day, without even drinking a glass of water after sunrise. It is only when the moon rises that women eat something to break their fast. Men are generally expected to feed the first bite of food to their wives on the festival. Women dress in bright and colourful ethnic wear, similar to bridal wear and apply beautiful intricate mehendi designs on their hands while they wait for the moon to rise. People believe that it is considered essential for the women to cover their faces in front of the elders. So it is an act of respect to look at the moon through a sieve.
According to Mahabharatha’s Vana Parva, Karva Chauth’s origins can be traced back to the time when Savitri begged the god of death, Lord Yama for her husband’s soul.
Karva Chauth is also symbolic of the beginning of the rabi crop-cycle or wheat-sowing time. People are known to have started observing the day praying for a good-harvest season, which is probably the reason why most agriculture-dependent regions like western UP, Rajasthan, Maharashtra etc. observe Karva Chauth.
On October 19, the auspicious time this year to start the Karva Chauth puja and prayers is 5:43 – 5:46am to 6:50pm. In New Delhi, the moon is expected to rise at 8:47 pm and the offerings to the moon can be made following that. It is an important part of the rituals to offer prayers to the moon after the moonrise before breaking the fast. God Shiva, Ganesha, Karthikeya and goddess Parvati are also worshipped at this time. After this, the women offer earthen pots (karwa) containing rice, urad dal to their mother-in-laws.
Here’s a list of moonrise timings in states across India.
Moonrise time in Uttar Pradesh – 8:35 pm
Moonrise time in Mumbai – 9:21 pm
Moonrise time in Rajasthan – 8:56 pm
Moonrise time in Himachal Pradesh – 8:43 pm
Moonrise time in Punjab – 8:49 pm
Moonrise time in Haryana – 8:48 pm
Moonrise time in Bengaluru – 9:09 pm
Moonrise time in Kolkata – 8:11 pm
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