The coming 24th of this month is being eyed by many newly married women in India particularly, the North of India. You must be wondering what’s so special on 24th October this year? Well! It’s Karvachauth – the celebration of love by Indian women.
Though Karvachauth is a ritual that is followed by married women. However, the celebration of the first Karva Chauth after the wedding has its charm and significance.
To put it in as simple words as possible, Karvachauth has a traditional significance. As per the conventions, a married woman keeps a day-long fast from sunrise to moonrise for her husband. After the moon rises, the fast is opened by her husband offering her water and sweets. It is believed that the day-long fast practiced by Indian women is to increase the longevity of her husband’s life and his well-being. Also, it depicts her love for her husband.
With modern views coming in, it is now regarded as a way to make your spouse feel loved. With little modifications and changing views, the context of the fast has been changing. However, the practice to celebrate the festival continues. It has increased even more lately.
Every year a lot of married women wait for this day. Preparations for the day start way before time. New ethnic outfits, bangles, Henna, decorated plates, Karva (small pots), Colourful Chalni’s can be seen everywhere in local markets.
We understand how a mix of emotions is going inside all you newlyweds. You must be excited to do something special for your spouse. But going an entire day without food and water doesn’t seem that easy. Does it? Also since it’s your first Karvachauth after marriage, there is a lot that you might not be aware of. We also understand how nervous you would be to see all your in-laws and relatives eyes glued to you for your first Karva Chauth celebrations.
Of course, it isn’t going to be easy, but don’t worry, we have some tips that can help you a little.
1. Be careful of what you eat before the fast
As per the traditions, before the sun rises and the fast begins, the food consumed by the women is known as Sargi. Sargi is generally sent by her mother-in-law with a lot of love. However, since you are going to consume it early in the morning even before the sun rises and it will be your last full meal till the moon comes up at night, you need to be careful of what you eat. We advise you to have some nutritious, stomach-filling food. Oily and fried food items must be a big no no. You might have an eye on those delicious fried snacks before you start your fast, but let us warn you, you will regret it later in the day. Consuming oily and fried food in the morning is not only bad for your health but will also urge you to drink more and more water. Have food that is high on proteins and fiber. Do not forget to include some fruits and dry fruits. Have a bit of sweet to keep you energetic.
2. Make your preparations right
There are a few items that you would need to buy before Karvachauth. First and foremost is the Karva. Karva is a small earthen pot on which the festival’s name has been kept. Apart from that, if you are following the fast with all rituals and traditions, you might need a well-decorated Thali and Chalni. While opening the fast, wives look at the moon through a Chalni and then move it from the direction of the moon to their husband’s face. You can get these easily from the local market or even online now.
3. Are you a henna fan?
Applying Henna is considered auspicious, especially on Karvachauth. Many women traditionally did it as it was a part of married women’s shringar. A lot of women personally love applying Mehndi, while some families consider it as an important ritual that needs to be done for Karvachauth. It is the time when you will find queues of women near the local market’s Mehndi wale bhaiya.
4. Dress up for the occasion
Since the festival is awaited with a lot of enthusiasm, you must be eagerly waiting to have the perfect outfit stitched for it. Not just the bride, but even the family and the inlaws expect her to dress in elegant ethnic wear. Women earlier wore just red or green colored suits and sarees for this day. However, there are no specific colors to choose from for this day. Generally, brides celebrating their first Karva Chauth wear new outfits that are bright, heavy, and shiny with many accessories and jewelry. In most Indian families, the mother-in-law buys ethnic wear for the new bride. You can choose the outfit as per your comfort and style but make sure you buy it beforehand so that it’s stitched before the special occassion. Also, dress well as you are going to pose for a lot of pictures on the day :p
5. Go for some other surprises
If your health or your personal views don’t allow you to keep a day-long fast, it’s okay. We hope your family and relatives would also understand your reasons. But we believe that nothing should come in the way of expressing love. You can still celebrate Karvachauth. If not by observing a fast, you can make your husband feel special with a lot of other surprises. After all, in the end, it is a festival to celebrate the bond of love above anything. Arrange for a romantic dinner, surprise him with a gift, write him a letter about how you feel for him. We are sure he will value your love and care.
6. Know about the customs
Every family has different customs and rituals, though the essence of a festival remains the same. However, the way it is practiced varies from family to family, community to community. Customs are engrossed deeply in Indian families and people are very emotionally attached to rituals and traditions. We are sure you wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings and beliefs intentionally. Since you are new to the family, you might also not be aware of how a particular festival is celebrated. It is always better to communicate. Talk to your partner and inlaws about how they celebrate or expect you to celebrate. You can also share your customs. Share with them how comfortable you are to do those things. Communication helps resolve any confusion. It will help in maintaining respect for each other’s views and prevent the other person from getting hurt.
7. Have a fruit or drink post evening Puja
If you weren’t aware of this, there is a sigh of relief for you. Generally, the fast is considered a Nirjal one. That is, you just don’t have to refrain from food but also water and other beverages. However, after the Katha is read in the early evening and the puja is done, many women consume some water along with a beverage or a fruit. According to the rituals, a puja is held in the early evening wherein stories related to the beliefs of Karva Chauth are read. A couple of women gather to read and hear the Katha, rotate their thalis. Post that, some of them drink water, or tea, or coffee. We suggest you have beverages like a banana shake that are healthy and provide you with energy. Try not to take tea as it might cause acidity on an empty stomach.
8. Book a salon session
If you are someone who loves to shine on every occasion, then don’t forget this one. A lot of your friends and family would be waiting to see how you have dressed up and how you look. You might not realize but a large number of people amongst your family and relatives would have eyes on you on this day, so it’s better to be groomed. Book a salon session 1-2 days to get facial, waxing, mani-pedi, etc.
9. Avoid doing any physical activity
Since you are going to go a whole day without food, your body would feel energyless even without doing any work. So don’t be harsh on yourself or exhaust your energy way before the day ends. If you are a working professional, take leave if possible. Avoid doing physical work, exercise, going to the gym, aerobics, or even yoga for a day. It will make you feel tired and also urge you to consume some protein and water. Don’t engage in household chores that cause physical exertion.
Also, try to stay indoors and don’t go out in the sun. Going out in Sunheat might cause dehydration.
10. Having food after moonrise
All through the day, you must have been fantasizing about different food items that you would have after the fast is over. But wait, have some patience. You have been with an empty stomach for a long time. Go easy with your body and make sure you follow these:
1. Don’t grab and start munching immediately.
After you open your fast, drink a glass or two of water before anything else. Wait for a few minutes or have something very light in the beginning. You can initially have some juice or lemon water.
2. Now when you are ready to have your proper meal, you should keep some points in mind. You need to understand after a long period of not having food, your digestive system wouldn’t be very happy to have oily, spicy food.
3. Begin with something light and healthy. Have food that is rich in fiber and protein. Avoid junk.
4. You might be feeling a bit dizzy at the end of the day. Opt for curd with some fruits in that case.
5. You can have something sweet to gain some instant energy. But only have a little quantity.
6. Do not overeat. Of Course, we know you have skipped meals, but overeating now does not compensate for lunch and breakfast. Rather it will make it worse.
We hope this Karva Chauth brings much love and goodness to your relationship. We understand how tiring and difficult it can be for some of you. But we are also sure that above all, you are very excited about your first Karvachauth. You might be nervous, but we are sure in the end it will all go well.
The tips and tricks mentioned above might make it a bit easier for you to sail through the day. Celebrate the festival with all vigor but don’t forget to take care of your health as well. Rituals and traditions are significant but nothing comes above health.