legend of Karwa Chauth
Image courtesy: The Hindustan Times

Karwa Chauth, a significant Hindu festival celebrated in various northern regions of India, is just around the corner, with this year’s date falling on November 01, 2023. Married Hindu women observe this day-long fast from sunrise till they spot the moon at night, all in the hope of ensuring their husbands’ long and prosperous lives. Unmarried women also participate, fasting in the quest to find prospective grooms.

The roots of Karwa Chauth are steeped in legend. One story involves Karva Devi, whose husband was attacked by a crocodile. Another tale tells of Savitri, who implored the god of death, Yama, to return her husband’s soul. Yet another legend recounts how Draupadi sought Krishna’s help to protect Arjun while he meditated in the Nilgiris.

In accordance with the mythology, Krishna advised Draupadi to fast for Arjun’s safety, similar to how Parvati had fasted for her husband, Shiva. However, according to Drik Panchang, the legend of Karwa Chauth is most closely associated with a woman named Veeravati. Deeply devoted to her husband, she had seven caring brothers who selflessly pampered her. One day, when she visited her family, Veeravati decided to undertake a nirjala vrat (a strict fast without water) for her husband. Unfortunately, due to her weakened state, she fainted from hunger.

Her brothers, deeply concerned for her well-being, implored her to eat, but Veeravati persisted in her fast, waiting for the moon to rise. In an attempt to deceive her, they climbed a peepal tree and held a flame behind a sieve, making her believe that the moon had appeared and she could break her fast. Tragically, the moment she broke her fast without seeing the actual moon, her husband passed away. Overwhelmed by grief, she was inconsolable.

Indrani, the wife of Indra, arrived to console Veeravati and advised her to keep fasts each month throughout the year so that her husband could return to life. Veeravati followed this advice diligently, and her husband was ultimately revived. This is why married Hindu women observe a fast on Karwa Chauth, praying to Shiva, Parvati, Ganesha, and Karwa Mata for the longevity of their husbands.

Re-reported from the article originally published in The Hindustan Times

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