Karva Chauth-one of the most awaited festivals by Indian women is observed nine days before Diwali. Karva means ‘earthen pot’ a symbol of peace and Chauth means Fourth Day as the one-day festival is celebrated on the ‘fourth’ day of the ‘karthik’ month. History tells many stories about the sacrifice done by women for their husband and that is how the festival came in practise. Different legends are traced back which reflects on the origin of this occassion.
1. THE LEGEND OF KARVA
A woman named Karva loved her husband immensely. One unfortunate day while he was bathinga crocdile caught his hold and hearing the screams she rushed towards her husband. To save him she bound the crocodile with a cotton yarn and the angry Karva went to Yama-the Lord of Death to request him to send the crocodile to hell. Yama refused to do that and she threatened to curse Yama. Scared of an angry woman he accepted the request and sent the crocodile to hell, blessing Karva’s husband a long life.
2. THE LEGEND OF QUEEN VEERAVATI
Long ago, there lived a beautiful queen, Veeravati-a sister of seven brothers and married to a king. On the occassion of her first Karva Chauth she observed the fast as per the tradition and while desperately waiting for the moon to show up she could not endure the severities of fasting. The seven brothers who loved her deeply could not see Veeravati in that condition so they planned a trick to make her break the fast. They reflected a mirror through ‘peepa’ tree leavesand she believed that the Moon has risen and broke her fast.
Soon she recieved a news that her Husband was ill. Veervatai immidiately rushed to the palace where she met Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati who informed her the unfortunate news of her husband’s death as she broke her fast seeing a False Moon. She started seeking forgiveness and she was required to undertake the Karva Chauth fast for seven times again with strict regime of all the rituals to be followed. She followed Goddess Parvati’s order and revived her Husband with her love and dedication
3.LEGEND OF SATYAVAN AND SAVITRI
Another story that is believed is of Satyavan and Savitri. Lord Yama one day came to take away Satyavan’s soul and Savitri begged him to spare his life but Lord Yama refused. Savitri gave up eating and drinking and for this reason Lord Yama granted her any wish, except her Huband’s life. She asked Lord Yama to bless her with children. She was immensely vrituous and devoted towards her husabnd and Lord Yama was forced to bring Satyavan back so as to fulfill her wish. From then on the festival is celebrated devotedly by Indian Women.
4.LEGEND OF MAHABHARATA
This strory dates back to the pre-Mahabharat times. Draupadi used to observe this fast after her marriage. Once Arjun went to the Nilgiris for penance and in his absence the Pandavas had to suffer with many problems. She prayed and asked Lord Krishna to shower some help who then reminded her of Goddess Parvati who had sought Lord Shiva’s guidance under similar circumstances and Lord Krishna advised Draupadi to observe the fast of Karva Chauth, As she followed the instructions and observed the fast for a whole day with all the rituals the Pandavas could overcome their troubles.
All these legends signify the devotion and love of wives towards their husbands and Karva Chauth hence is celebrated to strenthen the bond of love between the two, observing a sacred fast without eating or drinking and praying for a good life of each other.