Karva Chauth Ki Kahani: An Overview of the Traditions


Karva Chauth is a traditional Hindu festival celebrated by married women across North India. The festival falls on the fourth day after the full moon in the Hindu lunisolar calendar month of Kartik. It is a day where married women fast from sunrise to moonrise for the safety and longevity of their husbands. The term “Karva Chauth” is derived from two words, where “Karva” means clay pot and “Chauth” means the fourth day.

History and Significance

The origins of Karva Chauth can be traced back to ancient Indian folklore. One of the popular stories associated with the festival is the legend of Queen Veervati. It is believed that the queen observed a rigorous fast on Karva Chauth for the well-being of her husband’s health. Due to her strict fasting, she was unable to endure the day without food and fainted. Her seven brothers, who were concerned about her well-being, devised a plan to trick her. They created a fire on a nearby hill and made her believe that the moon had risen. Thinking that she had completed her fast, Queen Veervati broke her fast. However, the news of her husband’s serious illness reached her soon after. She rushed to her husband’s palace, and on the way, she met Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. They revealed the truth about her brothers’ deception, and Queen Veervati immediately resumed her fast. With her dedication and devotion, she was able to bring her husband back to life.

Rituals and Traditions

Karva Chauth is a festival celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor. The day typically starts before sunrise, where married women consume sargi, a pre-dawn meal prepared by their mother-in-law. This meal usually includes fruits, sweets, and other nutritious items. After consuming sargi, women observe a nirjala vrat (fast without water) for the entire day. They refrain from eating or drinking until they see the moon.

Women dress up in their finest traditional attire, apply henna (mehndi) on their hands, and adorn themselves with jewelry. They gather with other women in the evening for the Karva Chauth puja. The puja involves worshipping Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, and Karva Mata (an incarnation of Goddess Parvati).

During the puja, a special karva (decorated earthen pot) is filled with water, and seven pieces of sweets are placed inside it. The women also light earthen lamps as part of the ritual. They circle these items around their heads while listening to Karva Chauth vrat katha (the story associated with the festival). This ritual is performed to seek blessings for their husbands’ long and healthy life.

Breaking the Fast

The most awaited moment of Karva Chauth arrives with the sighting of the moon. Women break their fast after offering prayers to the moon. In some households, husbands also participate in the rituals by offering water to their wives, feeding them the first morsel of food, and presenting them with gifts.

The day concludes with a celebratory meal, where families come together to share a feast. It symbolizes love, togetherness, and the strength of marital bonds.

FAQs about Karva Chauth:

Q1: Can unmarried women observe Karva Chauth?
A1: Karva Chauth is traditionally observed by married women for the well-being of their husbands. Unmarried women or engaged individuals generally do not participate in this festival.

Q2: Is fasting compulsory on Karva Chauth?
A2: Fasting on Karva Chauth is a voluntary practice. While many married women choose to observe the fast for the longevity and prosperity of their husbands, it is not obligatory for all.

Q3: What is the significance of applying henna on Karva Chauth?
A3: Applying henna (mehndi) is considered auspicious on Karva Chauth. It is believed to symbolize love and devotion between the spouses. Additionally, intricate henna designs add to the festive spirit of the occasion.

Q4: Are there any specific dishes prepared for the Karva Chauth meal?
A4: The Karva Chauth meal typically includes a variety of festive dishes. Some popular treats prepared for this occasion are paneer, puris, kheer (rice pudding), and mathri (savory snack).

Q5: How do regions outside North India celebrate Karva Chauth?
A5: While Karva Chauth is predominantly celebrated in North India, its popularity has spread to other regions as well. People in different parts of India have adapted the festival according to their cultural practices and traditions. The essence of fasting for spousal well-being remains the same, but the rituals and customs may vary.

Q6: Can men observe Karva Chauth for their wives?
A6: While Karva Chauth is primarily observed by married women for their husbands, some men also choose to fast alongside their wives as a token of love and solidarity. It is not as common as women observing the fast, but the gesture is appreciated by many couples.

Q7: Are there any modern interpretations or adaptations of Karva Chauth?
A7: In modern times, Karva Chauth has evolved to reflect changing societal norms. Some couples choose to fast together, regardless of gender, while others focus more on the emotional bond shared on this day rather than the traditional rituals. Additionally, virtual celebrations have become popular among couples who are geographically separated.

Q8: What is the role of the moon in Karva Chauth rituals?
A8: The sighting of the moon holds great significance in Karva Chauth traditions. Women break their fast only after seeing the moon, as it symbolizes the completion of their prayers and the well-being of their spouses.

Q9: How has the commercial aspect of Karva Chauth evolved over the years?
A9: With changing times, the commercialization of festivals like Karva Chauth has increased. From special beauty treatments and attire collections to marketing campaigns promoting gift exchanges, the festival has become a significant economic opportunity for various industries.

Q10: What is the emotional impact of Karva Chauth on married couples?
A10: Karva Chauth serves as a reminder of the deep emotional connection and love shared between spouses. The devotion and sacrifice exhibited by married women on this day often strengthen the bond between partners and reinforce the importance of mutual respect and care in a relationship.


Karva Chauth is not just a traditional festival; it is a celebration of love, devotion, and the sacred bond between married couples. Through fasting, rituals, and prayers, this festival weaves together the essence of commitment and companionship. As the moon rises on Karva Chauth, it illuminates the enduring spirit of marital relationships, symbolizing hope, prosperity, and eternal love.