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Karva Chauth Fast
Karva Chauth is a one-day festival celebrated by Hindu women.
1. How to Celebrate Karva Chauth
karva Chauth is one of the traditional Hindu festivals celebrated mostly in North India by married women. Karva Chauth is a oneday festival celebrated by Hindu women in North India in which married women fast from sunrise to moonrise for the safety and longevity of their husbands. The fast is observed in the states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, western Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.The festival falls on the fourth day after the full moon, in the Hindu lunisolar calendar month of Kartik. Sometimes, unmarried women observe the fast for their fianc
2. Become familiar with the point behind Karva Chauth
It is a one day festival when devoted Hindu wives carry out auspicious rituals for the well being of their husbands. They fast the whole day without taking any food or water in order to show their devotion and readiness to suffer for their husbands and to ensure the long life of their husbands. In the evening the ladies listen to the Karva Chauth Katha (the legend). The fast is broken after sighting the moon.
3. If you are participating in it as a woman you will need to fast for the day
Start the fast at night after the first appearance of the moon. You must be within sight of your husband.
4. Wait for the moonrise on the next night to begin the fastbreaking activities
That evening, dress in your finest, including jewellery and henna in preparation for the sighting of the moon.
5. Offer food and prayer to the moon upon seeing it
Make lots of the variety of food on this special day. And give to god with the prayer.
6. Take the first bite of food and water from your husband
This should be followed by a special meal that has been prepared just for this event.
7. Etymology and origins
Karva is another word for pot (a small earthen pot of water) and chauth means fourth in Hindi (a reference to the fact that the festival falls on the fourth day of the darkfortnight, or krishna paksh, of the month of Kartik). It is uncertain how the festival originated and how it came to be celebrated only in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent. One hypothesis is that military campaigns and longdistance travel usually resumed around the time of the festival, as the area dried and numerous rivers of the region (see Sapta Sindhu) subsided from the effects of the monsoon. Women observed the fast to pray for the safety of their husbands at this time as they ventured away from home. The festival coincides with the wheatsowing time (i.e., the beginning of the Rabi crop cycle). Big earthen pots in which wheat is stored are sometimes called Karvas, so the fast may have begun as a prayer for a good harvest in this predominantly wheateating region.
Women begin preparing for Karva Chauth a few days in advance, by buying cosmetics (shringar), traditional adornments or jewelry, and puja items, such as the Karva lamps, matthi, henna and the decorated puja thali (plate). Local bazaars take on a festive look as shopkeepers put their Karva Chauth related products on display. On the day of the fast, women from Punjab awake to eat and drink just before sunrise. In Uttar Pradesh, celebrants eat soot feni with milk in sugar on the eve of the festival. It is said that this helps them go without water the next day. In Punjab, sargi is an important part of this predawn meal and always includes fenia. It is traditional for the sargi to be sent or given to the woman by her motherinlaw. If the motherinlaw lives with the woman, the predawn meal is prepared by the motherinlaw.
9. Popular cultural aspects and critiques
In modern North Indian society, Karva Chauth is considered to be a romantic festival, symbolizing the love between a husband and wife. It has been celebrated in Bollywood movies such as Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, where an unmarried woman signals her love for a man by keeping the fast for him and he reciprocates by secretly fasting as a gesture of empathy, as well as demonstrating his concern for her during the day and breaking her fast by feeding her at moonrise, and Baghban, in which a man persuades his elderly fasting wife to break her fast over the telephone because they have been separated by their uncaring children.News coverage of celebrities sometimes highlights the keeping of the fast by an unmarried public figure because it indicates a strong and likely permanent romantic attachment. Similar to Valentines Day, the lack of a romantic partner can acutely be felt by unattached women.The festival is used extensively in advertising campaigns in the region, for instance in a Chevrolet TV spot in which a man demonstrates his caring for his wife by buying a car with a sunroof so he can drive her around on Karva Chauth night until she spots the moon through it.
10. Sikhism and Karva Chauth
Sikh doctrine opposes austerities and ritualism for spiritual benefit, including the concepts of pilgrimage and fasting. The Sikh gurus did not support the idea of any spiritual or religious benefits of fasting. Specifically, while fasting is permitted for health reasons, fasting as an austerity, as a ritual, as a mortification of the body by wilful hunger is forbidden in Sikhism, whether it is Karva Chauth, Ramadhan or any other fast. This approach has been documented in Sikh scripture. The Adi Granth (verse 1136) says, I do not keep the fast (vrat) nor Ramadan. I serve only the One who will save me in the end. In addition to registering their disagreement, in Guru Granth Sahib, on the religious/spiritual aspects of fasting, they specifically rejected the idea of Karva Chauth: She who partakes in forsaking grain and doing such a hypocrisy is neither married nor widowed, from AGGS, p873).For strict adherents, the observance of fasts by Sikh women are outrageous and nothing short of blasphemy.
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