All decked up, women celebrate Karva Chauth (Lead)

October 27th, 2010 - 12:09 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 26 (IANS) Wearing colourful clothes, beautiful jewellery and sporting exquisite henna designs on their hands, women in many parts of north India Tuesday celebrated the festival of Karva Chauth with fervour, observing a day-long fast for the long life of their husbands.

Married women dedicate the evening to rituals, offering prayers to deity Gauri. Many unmarried girls also keep the fast.

As the darkness began to set in, women in large numbers gathered and worshipped the moon after it rose around 8 p.m. and then broke their fast with thwie husbands feeding them the first morsel.

For newly-married Kalpana Sharma, it was a “great experience”.

“Wearing colourful dresses, praying for the long life of my husband and sharing happiness is really exciting,” she said.

Women take the traditional sargi, a sweet made of milk and semolina, before sunrise and fast for the rest of the day until moonrise.

The puja preparations include traditional ritual items of the Gauri Mata idol, karwa (pitcher containing water), cow dung cake, vermilion, the bayana thali (plates) and gifts.

Songs specific to the festival are also sung in households and at community gatherings.

Homemaker Neelima Dhingra, 48, said: “I love this day because every year my husband and I take a day off from work and just relax with each other. Though I can’t eat or drink till evening, the pampering that I get from him aptly rewards the effort.”

Kanika Bajaj, who will tie the knot next month, said: “This is my first karwa chauth. As I’m a foodie, fasting did trouble me.”

“My would-be mother-in-law sent the sargi a day before, which was a big encouragement for me,” the 23-year-old said.

However, it is not just the women who are fasting. Some men also forsake food for the day, in order to show their love and support for their wives.

Said Ramesh Kumar, a school teacher: “It doesn’t feel right that while my wife remains hungry the whole day, I gorge on food. I’ve been fasting with her since the day we got married 25 years ago.”

“Every year, we go out for dinner after breaking the fast. But this year the celebrations would be on a bigger scale as it is also our 25th wedding anniversary,” he added.

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