We live in a country that has some of the most fascinating customs in the world. From ancient times, Indian culture has been rooted in colourful traditions that have a rich, sacred history. One of the enduring traditions that married women follow in India is Karva Chauth, a festival that is celebrated in the month of Karthika (the Hindu month that falls between typically October or November). This festival falls on the fourth day (Chauth) after the full moon in this month.
Karva Chauth has its origins in the days of yore when Hindu warriors would leave their families to fight the Mughal invaders and would spend this last day with their wives. Though the days of dynasties and warfare are long gone, even today, Hindu women carry on the tradition of fasting from sunrise to moonrise, not even drinking a sip of water, for the safety and long life of their husbands.
Karva Chauth Traditions
This special day starts before sunrise when the mother in law of the house prepares the ritual meal or Sargi. This pre-dawn meal is all that the fasting women will eat the whole day, till they break their fast after the first glimpse of the rising moon at night. During the day, they dress in festive clothes, visit each other and exchange gifts of cosmetics, sweets, bangles and ribbons.
In the evening, women exchange thalis in which an earthen lamp is lit, and which is loaded with sweets and namkeen, sindoor and rice. They listen to the story of Queen Veervati, a queen who is said to have observed the Karva Chauth and won back her husband’s life from Lord Yama through her single-minded devotion. The women will not look at the moon directly but only through a decorated chain or sieve. Once the moon is seen, they can break their fast with water or a sweet that is given by their husbands.
This ancient custom has been tweaked a bit to align with modern sensibilities. In most families today, it’s not just the wife who fasts for her husband’s long life—quite understandably, today’s young women wonder why their husbands should not fast for them as well! Most couples now observe the fast together, praying for a long and happy married life and the well-being of the family.
How Can You Decorate Your Home for Karva Chauth?
1. Bridal Mehandi decorations
On Karva Chauth, women dress up in bridal colours to relive their wedding day. Wearing lovely lehengas of red and gold, they adorn their hands and feet with beautiful mehndi designs, wear sindoor and glittering glass bangles. To keep the spirit of the festival alive, deck up your home in traditional wedding splendor with sparkling decorations, and enjoy the day with friends and family!
2. Festive Colours:
Red, gold and orange are considered auspicious colours for this festival. Decorate your home in these colours for a rich, festive look. You can get ethnic slipcovers stitched for your sofas, and put out brightly coloured cushions to match. If you’re painting your home to honor the season, create a focus wall in post-office red, saffron, or burnt orange for a vibrant and traditional look.
3. Floral Tributes
No Indian festival is ever complete without a profusion of flowers! Hang garlands of fragrant orange and yellow marigolds, roses and jasmine on the walls, and create a pretty patterned floral rangoli on the floor at the entrance to your home. You can also fill a brass vessel with water and float candles with rose petals on the surface of the water to welcome guests to your celebrations.
4. Festive Lights
Say it with lights! The warmth of traditional diyas adds a special glow to any festive celebration in India. Light earthen diyas or twinkling candles on your doorstep, balconies and windows to usher in the brightness of the season to your home. Hang fairy lights on trees and wrap them around mason jars to add a charming touch to your home décor.
5. Decorating the Karva
The Karva, an earthen pot topped with a nozzle, is part of the traditional thali and is said to be a symbol of peace and prosperity. Decorate your pots with acrylic paint, mirrors, gold thread and sequins, and use these brightly hued embellished pots as part of your home décor during Karva Chauth!
Looking for decoration tips? Watch this video for DIY craft ideas.
5. Torans on your door
Colourful torans at the entrance door enhance the festive mood during family celebrations. Unleash the creative streak in you, and make your own torans using colourful squares of cloth, mirrorwork, beadwork and tassels. Use traditional colours like reds and oranges, or shades of yellow and green.
6. Ethnic accessories
This is the time to bring out your collection of ethnic accessories to add a special touch to your home décor! Hang up earthen bells and bright puppets, and decorate your home with little brass statuettes and lamps. Read our blog to find out how you can deep-clean your Pooja and get your brassware and silverware shining during the festival season!
From the HomeLane family to yours, here’s wishing all couples a life filled with love, peace and togetherness, this Karva Chauth!