Karva Chauth is a vrat (fast) and a very important Hindu festival for married women. This is an ancient tradition where women fast all day long to pray for the good health of their husbands.
Women fast from sunrise till moonrise. The fast is broken after worshiping the moon. It is a famous festival that is celebrated in the northern parts of the country.
Ideally, this is a vrat intended for married women only but in northern states like Punjab and Haryana, even unmarried girls fast for finances or to get good life partners.
Karva Chauth falls on the fourth day after the full moon (according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar month of Kartik). Karva means diya (earthen lamp) and chauth means four in Hindi. This term overall means that the festival falls on the 4th day after the full moon.
Different items are required to conduct a Karva Chauth vrat. But all the items vary from culture to culture. For example, in few cultures, steel strainer is used to view the moon whereas in other cultures, women directly look at the moon and break their fast. But, there are basic items like sweets, karva, water and red chunaris to name a few, that are required in all the customs. If you are going to celebrate the karva chauth for the first time, here is a guide on the basic things that you need to keep the vrat.
Karva Chauth book: This is required to read the story (katha) in front of other women who are fasting. The story is read by an elderly woman or priest.
Puja Thali: The thali consisits of several things. The items can vary from culture to culture. However, roli, chawal, karva lota filled with water, a sweet, diya and sindoor are used in every state. Women in Rajasthan put wheat, matthi whereas women in Punjab put red thread, steel strainer and a glass of water (that they drink to break the fast after worshiping the moon). So, different places use different traditional items.
Women get all decked up to celebrate the most awaited festival. To impress their husband and rejoice with the eternal romantic mood, women get all dressed up like brides. In the evening, the women only of different communities organise a function where they sing, dance, mimic each other and tell jokes. In this function, women observe and appreciate each other's clothes. Women mostly wear red coloured sarees or lehengas.
Mehendi is one of the most important shringar items. It is very crucial to apply mehendi on the palms.
Different sweets are made in every household. While few prepare dishes like kachori, sabzi, there are many who go for special delicacies. Even sweets vary from culture to culture. However, sargi (a thali that consists of pheni, parantha, fruits and other sweets) and matthis with puas are very popular food items that are required during Karva Chauth vrat.
These are few items that are required to conduct a Karva Chauth vrat.