Women all decked up, keep fast on Karwa Chauth

October 26th, 2010 - 6:30 pm ICT by IANS  

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

Married women dedicate the evening to rituals by offering prayers to deity Gauri.

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.”

Twentythree-year-old Kanika Bajaj, who would 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,” she said.

However, it is not just the women who are fasting. Some men too, in order to show their love and support for their wives, stay away from food.

Said Ramesh Kumar, a school teacher: “It doesn’t feel right that while my wife remains hungry the whole day while 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,” added a joyous Kumar.

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

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

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

The women wait for the moon to rise before they can break their fast by taking the first morsel from the hands of their husband.

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