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Karva Chauth Fasting
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Karwa Chauth festival is very happily celebrated every year by the women by keeping whole day fast in the Krishna Paksha at Chaturthi in the month of Kartik. It is being celebrated in almost all the states of India on the same date. It falls every year in the month of October or November on the fourth day of the full moon means Purnima according to the Hindu calendar.

It is a great ritual of keep fasting on the day of Karwa Chauth during which a married woman keeps fast for whole day and do puja of Lord Ganesha for the wellness and long life of her husband. Especially, it is the festival of married women however in some Indian regions; it is a tradition of keeping fast by the unmarried women too for their future husband. At this day a married women keeps whole day fast, worship Lord Shiva and His family in the evening and break her fast in the late evening or night only after seeing the rising moon. Karwa Chauth fasting is very hard and there is a strict discipline that no women should take any food or water from the sunrise till moonrise in the night.

Karwa Chauth Vrat Vidhi
 
Karwa Chauth vrat is also known as the Karak Chaturthi vrat which is most important for married women especially in the regions of Panjab, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and UP. It falls at fourth day in the Krishna Paksha of Kartik month. During this fast, women worship Goddess Parwati and God Ganesha and Moon. It is a fast without water means “Nirjala Vrat” however some women (having pregnancy or health problems) can keep this fast by having milk, fruit, mewa, khoya, etc. This vrat needs heartily dedication, trust and confidence towards God including complete pooja process. Rice kheer, Pua, dahibada, chana dal puri, gur halwa, etc is prepared to offer to the God and Goddess. Puja should be done by facing mouth towards East direction and God Goddess statue face towards West direction. It is considered that giving Dan of the Karak at this day brings lots of comfort, safety, long life of husband, Lakshmi and son to the home as well as other willing of the worshiper. It is also considered that the purpose of this fast only completes when a woman gives Dan of Karak and Arghya to the moon.
Karwa Chauth Vrat Katha
 
Hearing Karwa Cauth Katha is of great importance for all the women keeping fast on the festival of Karwa Chauth. Without listening the katha, it is considered that the fast is not complete. There are many stories of the Karwa Chauth from which one of them is necessary to listen by the married women during fast and pooja ceremony. Some of the Vrat katha and stories are mentioned under the heading “significance and legends of karwa Chauth celebration”.
 
 
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Karwa Chauth Puja Process
 
A married woman does lots of preparations a day before the Karwa Chauth as she has to keep fast on the next day without taking food and water. She eats something and drinks water in the early morning before the sunrise as she has to spent whole day without taking anything. From morning till afternoon she involves in lots of festive activities like applying heena on her hand and leg to decorate herself, she decorates pooja thali (having sindoor, flowers, incense sticks, rice grains, ghee diya, dhoop batti, and other pooja materials) and meets with her friends and relatives.
Before starting puja, following pooja samagri needs to be collected: statue of Lord ganesha, Ma Ambika Gauri, Shri Nandishwar, Mata Parwati, God Shiv Ji and Shri Kartikaya. Pooja materials (like Karwa or metal pot, Dhoop, deep, kapoor, sindoor, ghee diya, roli, chandan, kajal, fruit, mewa, sweets, flowers and match box) are also need to be collected.
In the evening, she takes bath, get prepared and go to her neighbours and friends to hear the Karwa Chauth Katha. Married women of the community or society gets together at a common place such as garden, temple or someone’s home, etc and do arrangement of pooja. One of the elder ladies starts narrating the story of Karwa Chauth. There keep in the centre a special earthen pot (which is considered as the symbol of Lord Ganesha) filled with wheat grain, a metal pot filled with water, some flowers, idols of Mata Parwati, Ambika Gaur Mata, sweets, mathi, fruits and food grains. Small part of all the offerings is offered to the Goddess and storyteller.
Earlier, it was a ritual of making Gaur Mata idol using soil and cow-dung however these days, women puts metal or paper idol of the Goddess Parwati. All the women lit earthen lamp in the thali before listening to the Katha or story. Women wear colourful sarees and cover themselves with the red or pink chunary of their marriage. They sing pooja songs and do prayer to God and Goddess for blessings. They move their pooja thalis to each other in the circle for seven times and sing songs. Once pooja has completed, everyone goes to their home with their pooja thalis and touches feet of elders in the family, neighbours and relatives to get blessings.
Married woman touching the feet of her mother-in-law to take blessings on Karva Chauth.
Married woman touching the feet of her mother-in-law to take blessings on Karva Chauth.
 
Moon Rise Ceremony
 
Women starts preparing their pooja thalis for the moon rise ceremony. Pooja thali contains ghee diya, rice grains, water filled pot, match box, sweets, a glass of water and a chalani. Once moon rises in the sky, women come out of their homes to see the moon. First of all they perform Arghya to the moon, through rice grains towards moon and see moon from chalani by having ghee diya under it. They pray to the moon for the prosperity, safety and long life of their husbands. After completing the moon ceremony, they touches the feet of their husbands, mother-in-laws and other elders of the family to get blessings for being “Sada Suhagan” and happiful life. Somewhere there is a ritual of seeing only moon reflection from the thali having water instead of directly seeing the moon. After touching feet, husbands let them eat some sweets and drink water from own hand to their wives.

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