Karaka Chaturthi (Karwa Chauth) 2022 in India is celebrated on Thursday, 13 October, and is a restricted holiday in several parts of India. Maa Gauri and Lord Shiva are venerated on this day with great devotion.
This is one of the significant religious Hindu Holidays 2022 observed by married and unmarried women, and in modern times, even men too fast on this occasion for the longevity of their better half. So let’s know more about this day. As per Hindu Panchang or Calendar, the festival of Karaka Chaturthi, also known as Karwa Chauth, is observed during the Hindu month of Kartik in Krishna Paksha on the Chaturthi tithi.
Is Karaka Chaturthi a Public Holiday?
This day is an optional public holiday in most states and union territories. This means some employees can take a half or full day off on this occasion or work within a limited time frame. However, all schools, colleges, universities, government, and private sector offices remain open and operational.
Karaka Chaturthi History as per Mythology
Karaka Chaturthi’s history holds relevant significance and commemorates the beginning of its observance. Let us know its mythological importance:
Satyavan and Savitri
The story of Satyavan and Savitri is famous on the occasion of Karaka Chaturthi or Karva Chauth. It is believed that Lord Yama came down to take the soul of Satyavan, the husband of Savitri, with him. Savitri pleaded in front of him and followed him everywhere until he granted her a boon.
He said she could ask for any boon except her husband’s life. So she asked the Yama to be blessed with kids, to which he agreed. But, since she was a “Pati-Vrata” woman, she never allowed any man to touch her, leaving Lord Yama with no choice but to return to her husband in total health.
Story of Queen Veeravati
Veeravati had seven brothers who loved her immensely and were her only sister. Her first Karaka Chaturthi (Karwa Chauth) was spent at her paternal house, where she woke up early, performed the morning rituals, and observed a strict fast throughout the day without food or water. By evening, she was eagerly waiting for the Moon to rise since it was difficult for her to stay without drinking or eating.
Her brothers, unable to see their sister’s condition, created a mirror-like reflection on the Peepal tree that projected as if the Moon had risen. Veeravati, thinking of it as the Moon, performed the evening ritual and broke her fast. But, with every morsel she ate, there was something ominous.
With the first morsel, she sneezed; with the second, she found hair; and with the third, she received the news of her husband passing away. Hearing this, she lost herself and wept throughout the night, which compelled Shakti to appear in front of her and ask why. After hearing from her, Shakti revealed how her brothers, out of goodwill, tricked her. As a result, Veeravati was instructed to perform the Karva Chauth fast and related rituals again. After she completed the ways with devotion, Lord Yama had to restore her husband’s life.
In one of the versions, her brothers tricked her by building a massive fire behind a mountain and asking her to consider the glow as the appearance of the Moon. However, as soon as she broke her fast, the news about her husband’s death arrived. Hearing this, she started running towards her husband’s house and encountered Shiva-Parvati on her way.
Maa Parvati revealed the truth and cut her finger to offer her the “Holy Blood.” She advised her to perform the Karva Chauth fast with more caution the next time. Her husband returned to life after sprinkling the “Holy Blood,” and Veeravati vowed to observe the fast with utter devotion and care in the coming future.
Legend of Mahabharata
Per the beliefs, Arjuna left the rest of the Pandavas to go to the Nilgiris to perform penance. However, the rest of the Pandavas brothers faced several obstacles in his absence. Draupadi desperately remembered Lord Krishna and sought his help to get them out of their misery.
On this occasion, Lord Krishna reminded her of the time when Maa Parvati observed Karaka Chaturthi’s fast when she faced a similar situation. Listening to Lord Krishna, Draupadi followed all the rituals and observed the fast of Karaka Chaturthi with devotion, which enabled the Pandavas to overcome all their hurdles.
The Legend of Karva
Per one of the mythological legends, a woman named Karva was a devoted wife, and her love, care, and affection towards her husband would empower her spiritually. One day when her husband was bathing in the river, he was caught by a ferocious crocodile.
On hearing this, Karva came forward to protect her husband by binding the animal with cotton yarn, after which she asked Lord Yama to take the animal to the Underworld with him. Listening to this, Yama declined, which angered Karva, and she threatened to curse him. But, afraid of being cursed by a woman who is a Pati-Vrata or utterly devoted wife, Yama spared her husband’s life and blessed him with longevity.
Karaka Chaturthi Fast & Puja Rituals
- Women are advised to wake up early before sunrise, bathe and wear clean clothes.
- After this, they must clean the place of worship or altar.
- Sargi, a plate consisting of eatables and adornments by mothers-in-law for their daughters-in-law, must be accepted. The food must be eaten.
- Drink plenty of fluids, such as juice or water, to stay hydrated throughout the day.
- Fast throughout the day without consuming any food or water.
- In the evening, one must establish the idols or pictures of Maa Parvati and Lord Shiva on an earthen platform.
- Place ten to thirteen stoups made of clay or Karvas around as well.
- Place items such as a Lamp or Diya, incense, Chandan or Sandalwood paste, Vermilion or Sindoor, Roli, etc. on a plate.
- Light the Diya with Ghee or clarified butter.
- All women should sit together, perform the ritual of Feri (passing of plates) and recite the Karva Chauth Katha.
- After this, when the Moon is visible in the sky, Arghya must be offered to the Moon.
- It must be sighted with a sieve.
- Then the husband must offer her water and something sweet to drink and eat.
- After this, the couple should seek the blessings of the elders in the family.
Sargi In Karaka Chaturthi
In the regions of North Indian states, the festival of Karaka Chaturthi begins with Sargi. Sargi is said to be a special meal prepared for married women either by their mothers-in-law or sisters-in-law. This meal is believed to be consumed before sunrise on the day of Karwa Chauth.
Sargi comprises a blend of fresh fruits, Vermicelli Kheer, coconut water, dry fruits, snacks, sweets, fiber items, energizing dishes, and adornments. This Thali is presented to married women hoping these items will help them sustain themselves throughout the day.
The food and items sent along with Sargi mark the love, care, and affection between a mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law. After eating it before dawn, women stay without water or food throughout the day and then perform the Feri ritual, where everyone sitting together in a circle passes on their plates while reciting the Karva Chauth Katha.
Karaka Chaturthi Celebrations
Karaka Chaturthi celebrations begin with several married women eating the Sargi before sunrise in the morning of Karva Chauth and then assuming a day-long fast for the longevity of their husbands. The day ends with performing the Karvachauth Katha and worshipping the Moon after sighting it through a sieve.
Women on this day wake up early in the morning, get all dressed up in beautiful attires, apply Henna or Mehandi and maintain compassion. Then, after the rituals in the evening after the Moon is sighted are carried out, family members gather together and share beautiful moments.
Married couples seek the blessings of their elders, and elders bless their children for longevity and a happy and prosperous married life. After this, home-cooked meals are gorged upon. Unmarried girls can also observe a fast on this day to attain their desired life partner.
Karaka Chaturthi Symbols
Some things considered a symbol of Karaka Chaturthi are Vermillion, Henna, and Solah Shringaar.
Sindoor or Vermillion: In Hinduism, Sindoor or Vermillion represents a long, enriching marital life. It is regarded as a sacred item and depicts the husband’s longevity.
Henna: Applying Henna or Mehandi is an age-old tradition in India and represents love, prosperity, and the bond between a husband and wife. It is believed that the darker the shade of Henna, the more love will be showered upon her by her husband.
Solah Shringar: Solah Shringar or Sixteen Adornments comprises sixteen steps followed by a married woman when getting ready on the day of Karwachauth. These items enhance the beauty of a married woman and help her transcend into a blissful married life.
Is Karaka Chaturthi a bank holiday in India?
No, Karaka Chaturthi is not considered a bank holiday in India. However, women can take half or full-day off on this day, and men can leave early accordingly.
Can an unmarried girl fast on the day of Karva Chauth?
Unmarried girls can also observe the Karwachauth fast to attain an ideal life partner.
What can we eat in Sargi on Karaka Chaturthi?
Sargi consists of several dishes, ranging from sweets and salty snacks to dry fruits, seviyan, clothes, and other items of Suhag such as Sindoor, Henna, etc.