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'Karwa Chauth' is a ritual of fast observed by married Hindu women seeking the longevity, well-being and prosperity of their husbands. It is popular among married women in the northern and western parts of India. This festival comes nine days before Diwali on 'kartik ki chauth', i.e., on the fourth day of the new moon immediately after Dusshera, in the month of 'Karthik' (October-November). This year it falls today, October 22 (Please check local calendar for moon rise time in your country or region).

In the evening, women dress up in special clothes, usually a red or pink sari or 'lehenga-choli' with gold woven 'zari' patterns. New brides often wear their bridal costume. All deck up in jewelry and wear 'mehendi' or henna patterns especially on the hands. Decorative 'bindis' on the forehead are a must for all women taking part in this celebration. Fasting women from all over the neighborhood gather in a group and narrate mythological stories that underscore the significance of Karwa Chauth. And, of course, all wives expect lavish gifts from their husbands!

The fast of Karwa Chawth truly sets the merry tone of the fun and frolic, festivity and feasting that come in good measure during Diwali -- the biggest festival of the Hindus. Read more...

Photo: Getty Images

October 30, 2012 at 12:29 pm
(1) Reshma says:

I love this holiday because it mirrors the one where men starve for their wives…oh wait, there IS no such thing. The men in our culture would never do something like that for their women lol.

October 31, 2012 at 9:03 am
(2) Gaytri says:

Husbands do not give gifts to wives at Karwa Chauth. Mothers-in law give Sargi (sweet, mehndi and money or jewellry) to the daughters-in law and in return they give them money or a gift of a sari or something.

November 1, 2012 at 6:53 am
(3) fizraj says:

this is a beautiful festival dying to observe this fast for my husband

November 3, 2012 at 11:33 am
(4) Kiran says:

I think that last sentence was sarcasm, I have been fasting for 44 years and no presents!

November 13, 2012 at 6:52 pm
(5) Sapna says:

Like Valentines Day they are trying to make old traditions generally celebrated amongst women, romantic. Indian Husbands are just present, but don’t gift or do anything else in this holiday. Daughter in law and Mother in law exchange gifts. Women dress in Bridal wear to stay motivated and remember all the symbols signifying being a married woman. If anything it feels like a day were woman are reminded of their marital duties to husband and family. Girls don’t get your hopes up – it’s not like the movies or tv serials.

October 29, 2013 at 2:35 pm
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January 14, 2014 at 11:53 pm
(9) Chai a Cup of Life says:

Great post and information. Karva Chauth can be an enjoyable ritual for married women. I wrote about my own experiences as a non-Indian :-) http://www.chaiacupoflife.com/karva-chauth

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