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Hunger Strike!!

Why do we fast????
I mean - what is the need to go hungry?
praying for anothers health and wealth by keeping a fast seems like a killjoy idea to me (personally).

yet we go thru karwa chauth!!

The preparations for Karva Chauth start the day before the festival. Newly wedded brides get beautifully wrapped baskets with the sargai (the food to be eaten before sunrise) from their mothers-in-law. The fasting women of the neighbourhood get together before sunrise to eat the sargai that mainly consists of thirst quenching foods like fruits, along with a main course of potatoes eaten with hot puris (a deep-fried Indian bread). Traditionally the newly wed woman spent the day before the fast in her mother’s house and came to her mother-in-law’s house only on the day of Karva Chauth. (yes - i know - I'm blogging from mas place)

The day of Karva Chauth is an out-and-out holiday for women when they fuss over themselves endlessly. They wear bright and beautiful clothes, don’t scrimmage on their jewellery, pamper themselves by buying bangles and get someone to draw intricate patterns with henna on their palms and feet. This is a perfect time to indulge in such practices as they are spared from doing the routine household chores on Karva Chauth. Though of course, such is the case with only the privileged few, as most women, homemakers or homemakers-professionals are required to work like they would on any other day. Sups is working too!!

The women of the neighborhood usually gather in someone’s house and perform the puja together. A small area is prepared for the ceremony that can be performed in any part of the house as well as in the open. A small square platform is placed against the wall and kharia matti (powdery mud) is used to cleanse, make anew and decorate the puja area. An idol of A sudden flurry of activities in the evening indicates that the preparations for the big puja (prayer ceremony) are afoot. The women of the neighborhood usually gather in someone’s house and perform the puja together. A small area is prepared for the ceremony that can be performed in any part of the house as well as in the open. A small square platform is placed against the wall and kharia matti (powdery mud) is used to cleanse, make anew and decorate the puja area. An idol of Gaur Mata or Goddess Parvati, the consort of Shiva (the Destroyer in the Hindu Holy Trinity of Creator-Preserver-Destroyer) is placed on the consecrated spot. Traditionally, the tiny image of Gaur Mata was made from cow dung, though nowadays pictures or idols of Parvati are the norm.

About an hour before moonrise, the women place their bayas over their karvas in a plate and assemble around the puja area to pray while an elderly lady narrates a tale about a young woman who by an unfortunate twist of fate was tricked into breaking her fast. The husband drops dead the very instance his wife breaks the fast. Enraged at the deception that led to her husband’s death the girl implores Gaur Mata to resurrect her husband. The husband finally comes back to life after a period of seven Karva Chauths during which time the young girl neither eats nor drinks. Thus the bride with her unflinching love for her husband and belief in Godess Parvati achieves the ‘impossible’.

After the story is read out to everyone, the women exchange their respective karvas till each one gets her own karva back, while chanting The puja ends with the women showering rice and vermilion on Parvati and seeking her blessings. The younger women touch the feet of the elders, seek their blessings and offer their baya to them. Following this one of the women goes with a plate decorated with lit earthen lamps and a container of water to see if the moon has risen. The moon is not to be seen directly but through a fine mesh or sieve. Water is offered to the moon seven times by each of the fasting women as they all hum a chant. Though the women are allowed to break their fast after they see the moon, it is preferred if they can also see the faces of their husbands before they eat or drink. So the married men scurry back home from work as soon as possible on this day.......... yes I will be home on time!!

Then we will break our fasts together!


^*^Clouds^*^ said…
"Then we will break our fasts together!"

How sweet!

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