Unveiling Karwa Chauth: Why do Women Fast?

Every year just before Diwali, married Hindu women fast all day long without water to appease the God in their family: Her Husband “The Pati Parmeshwar”(Husband). It all begins with the Henna in her hands and ends with looking at the moon through a sieve. As an educated modern woman of the 21st century, I can’t help but wonder why?? Why do women follow this age old suppressive ritual?

Karva Chauth 2015
Karva Chauth 2015
Karva Chauth 2015
Left to Right: Raina, Anjali Shah Desai, Harpreet Maan
Aanchal Sethi
Left to Right: Minu Rastogi, Neeta Sadhvani, Harpreet Maan
Left to Right:Anjali Shah, Raina, Harpreet Maan, Suchi Shankar
Left to Right: Anita Khandelwal, Minu Rastogi, Neeta Sadhwani, Harpreet Maan, Suchi Shankar
Left to Right: Anita Khandelwal, Sangeet Ghandhi, Raina G. Singh
Left to right: Harpreet Maan, Aanchal Sethi, Puja Thakural, Minu Rastogi, Sangeet Ghandhi, Suchi Shankar
Karva Chauth 2015
Karva Chauth 2015
My thoughts take me back to my childhood, all the neighborhood “moms” were dressed in their finery getting together for the quintessential Pooja(prayers), complimenting each other on how they looked. The colors, the camaraderie and the feeling of togetherness all brought the zest in the festival. It was perhaps an occasion to bond and celebrate the institution we call Marriage.
Childhood blossomed into youth and suddenly the parents were itching to get me married to an appropriate stranger. The families meet over a few cups of tea and before I knew it, I was going round in circles around the holy fire. Yes, we were Married. Two strangers looking to spend the rest of their lives together and I asked myself; Is my husband my Parmeshwar(god)? The feminist, educated, modern woman in me came out with all her claws. 17 years hence and I still ask myself that question. That being said every Karwachauth, I dress up, apply henna, wear sindoor and fast till the moon comes up. Every year, as he pours water into my mouth I sense the tenderness in his eyes, when I touch his feet it revalidates the vows we made around the fire. The modern woman in me surrenders to that moment. He may not be God but every marriage requires surrender, acceptance and faith.
So Karwa Hhauth for me is about Faith, Love and togetherness of ¬†Marriage. This brings together the gorgeous ladies who surrender resplendently to the moment and celebrate with each other. There’s reverence, laughter and bonding and that’s Celebrating Life!