“Are you going to stay hungry all day long? Why would you in this day and age? “
I get this a lot of times, when I inform people that, ” On this festival women choose to fast without food or water for their husband’s long life and consequently their marriage. ” There is skepticism even from Indians who choose not to celebrate.
What is it ?
How this festival is celebrated is the women wake up before the sun rises and has a decent breakfast of five different elements before her fasting day starts. These are traditionally provided by the mother in law. The fast ends with the sighting of the bright moon with the ladies praying to their husbands and the moon wishing for a long life for their husband so they can share their loving bond for a very long time. Women apply henna on their hands the night before or the day of and dress up like brides.
Fasting hard is not mandatory. Many women these days sip on their preferred flavored water or have tea and fruit after the “puja” (prayer) is over. The prayer involves all the women fasting sitting in a circle, listening to the telling of the story of Karva which is how this festival began. The celebration is described in detail here on Wikihow with pictures and the traditions more elaborately explained here.
Mehendi The Night Before
Many women today love an excuse to apply henna to their hands. I for one spent many years (when the kids were young) applying Henna to my hands late in the night, waiting for the design to dry, excitedly looking at my hands in the morning. There is something inherently beautiful about that dark color on your hands. The process of getting the design done possibly gives the ladies a convenient reason to get together and have some laughs, dance and be creative together. Many women even prefer to have it done by a professional. The comradery is fun.
Modern Me Celebrating Karvachauth
I have no real scientific explanation for the celebration of this process. My own husband often times teases me and offers me ways out of fasting. These days many scoff at this custom but the truth is when you do a simple sacrifice like this for the sake of your relationship, dress up traditionally and in a way celebrate your relationship you feel aglow by the love you share with your husband. These days with many women living far from their immediate families, it is a wonderful way to make the extra effort to make your bond stronger, make yourself and your husband feel special.
Many celebrations are more a matter of heart than hard logic or tradition.
For many years, I have celebrated this festival with friends who do not fast themselves but respect the fact that I do so and enjoy the simple feeling of love along with me. We have laughed, enjoyed chasing the moon in our cars (most years it has risen earlier far from home) and relished the joy of sharing a meal together after. Celebrating together even when we do not ideally believe in the same concept brings us all together in a special way. Many a times those same people have delayed their dinners to share the joy of breaking my fast with me. That in itself is greatly appreciated.
What Kids See
On this festival, I hope my kids feel the love when they see Dad feeding mom as she has mehendi on her hands, or mom cooking for the family and being happy all day even though she hasn’t eaten or drank a sip of water all day.
I specially love it, when I get all decked up in the traditional (almost bridal) attire, when my either and often both my kids come up and say, ” Mom you look so pretty. “
When I celebrate this festival, I hope my kids are inspired to learn to make sacrifices for their loved ones. To be happy for others, no matter what they are going through themselves. That they feel joy when they see mom and dad all dressed up and doing something that celebrates their love for each other.
How We Spend The Evening Waiting For the Moon
Now what do you couples do, during the many hours after all your chores are done on Karvachauth and you are dressed up and waiting for the pretty white moon to show up and shine upon you? And won’t you know it, it is Always late during Karvachauth.
Here are a set of games I have come up with to pass the time. Let’s face it. Distracted minds think less about rumbling tummies!
Bangles are a staple on this special day and go wonderfully with the theme. In this game you blind fold both partners and the husband tries to put on as many bangles on the wife’s hand as possible.
Wedding Ring Mix Up
Everyone takes off their wedding rings and adds them to a bowl. Blindfolded partners try to find their or their partners wedding ring. If they do, they win.
Name The Essentials
This is for the husbands. They have to name all the items that are essential on this festival. Whoever gets all or most of the items right, wins.
Laugh Out Loud
This would be a great game for fasting women as they try to keep a straight face, while their respective husbands try to make them laugh.
For more couples games to make any couples’ evening amazing, download the free book of couples games here.