India is known for its cultural heritage with varied traditions all across the country. One such tradition is Karva Chauth which is celebrated or performed by married women of India for their husband’s long life. It includes a religious ritual and the woman who is celebrating this festival needs to fast all day to please the Almighty who will in turn make sure to safeguard her husband from any risks of life.
Interesting! Isn’t it? Although I am not sure if the Almighty promise such things or not, one thing is for sure that there are number of Women in India who believe in Karva Chauth and celebrate this festival year after year in order to pray for their husband’s long life. Most of these celebrations are popularized and brought into trend by Indian television serials or movies.
The only question I have with the overall concept of Karva Chauth celebration is why can’t we keep it simple and celebrate it for the Love between the couple rather than some tradition based on blind faiths and superstitions. We live in the 21st Century and we shouldn’t carry forward such brutality on Women in the name of love and religious rituals to the new generation. Although I doubt if they will accept it either. J
I know it may sound a bit sarcastic to those who believe in the age old traditions to safeguard the Indian culture but let me explain why the ritual of Karva Chauth must be changed with something more enjoyable and stress free.
The Origin of Karva Chauth:
Now surprisingly, the origin of this festival or fasting day is unclear. Karva Chauth often falls on the 4th Day of the dark fortnight in the month of Kartik of the Hindu calendar (corresponds with the months of October/November) which is the main reason the name includes “Chauth” that means four.
Many years ago, the military campaigns and long-distance traveling by men started during this time of the year when the rivers subsided after the monsoons and the area became dried. While the men were away from home, the women observed the fast to pray for the safety and long life of their husbands. As the festival falls during the wheat-sowing time, there’s one more theory that originated because of the term “Karva” in the name which means “pot”. Before sowing wheat, big earthen pots (karvas) are stored with wheat and fasting is observed as a prayer for a good harvest mostly in the wheat-eating regions of India.
Still there is no clear reason or origin story behind celebrating the festival of Karva Chauth. Yet, the festival is celebrated in the most part of the Northern India that includes Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand.
The Logic behind Karva Chauth That I Believe!
Still there’s no clear logic behind celebrating the festival today because fasting for religious purpose are blind superstitions and nothing more. Yet, from my research I can conclude that the basic reason for celebrating this festival could be the age old blessing of “Sada Suhagan Raho”.
Let me explain. As per Indian culture, the best blessing that a married woman is given by the elders is “Sada Suhagan Raho” which simply means that you may die while your husband is still alive. Yup it sounds ridiculous but for many women in India, it’s considered as a blessing that they die before their husbands not after them and it is still prevalent. Most of the time it’s out of love and sometimes it is also because the life of a widow in India used to be hell in those times and it still is even today in some parts of the country.
So that explains why women used to fast for the safety and longevity of their husbands. But I still don’t understand that the Indian women of today’s generation also have such superstitious beliefs and blind faiths. Nobody can guarantee the life term of someone not even the Gods.
Moreover, how can it help the safety and longevity of the husband’s life when a wife fasts for him? Just think about it.
How Karva Chauth must be celebrated in the 21st Century?
The common element of celebrating Karva Chauth is love towards the husband. I don’t get it why Women in India wants to suffer or torture herself staying hungry all day on a blind faith that it will ensure the safety and longevity of their husbands and consider it as love for the husbands.
Above all, why husbands allow their wives to observe Karva Chauth in the most rigorous way? The only reason could be either they are superstitious too or they don’t reciprocate the love in return.
The times have changed and so must we! Karva Chauth, if tried can be celebrated as a day of eternal love among the couples. They can spend most of the time together, celebrate and party all day with each other instead of falling prey to all this baseless rituals and hunger strikes.
Personally for me, there’s no difference between the superstitious sacrificing a goat or a calf for pleasing Gods and the ritual of Karva Chauth as both are performed in the name of superstitious beliefs and blind faiths.
Frankly speaking, I am not married or no woman has yet observed this ritual for me and in future I wouldn’t allow anyone to do that for me either. NowI am pretty sure I am going to receive so much negative remarks from Women who religiously celebrate this festival for their husbands especially the North Indians.
Image Courtesy: ibnlive.in.com and rediff.com