The Story of Karwa Chauth: 6 Bridal Tales On Why They Chose The Chauth Fast
Will you, won't you? That's what many millennial brides are asked ahead of their first Karwa Chauth fast. These 8 brides come together on 6 reasons why they chose to take up the tradition in the first place.
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It’s that day of the year again. When millennial, married (or to-be-married) women choose to opt for an age-old tradition. With a vermillion dot (or not), they take their first step into matrimony with (or without) their very first Karwa Chauth experience.
So, how does it really go for them? What makes them really opt (or not) for the uber-traditional fast till sunset for their partners? To get the real story, we talked to a few ladies who did the deed as recent brides and brides-to-be. The most recent bride-to-be is due for her Karwa Chauth next week, while the eldest chose to do it nearly 20 years ago. And the common thread for all these tales – funny, romantic, sappy or sad - is that it was their choice.
The Karwa Chauth: What’s The Tale Behind It
The first Karwa Chauth is the time when a bride or bride-to-be decides whether she would follow into the footsteps of her elder generations and keep the fast or not. She invokes the blessings of the mother goddess or Devi on her husband or ‘Suhaag’, by observing a day without food or water. And they do so while bedecking themselves in bridal jewellery, splendid wedding outfits and finery. The fast is successfully over after the moonrise (salutations to the husband either included or excluded).
More husbands choose to take up the fast together with their wives. That’s perfectly fine too, though a few of the brides claimed that it does lessen their thunder. There are also those who would rather don their bridal lehengas, skipping the arduous fast altogether.
Here are 6 takes that we got from 9 brides recalling their own first Karwa Chauth experiences:
Date Night Benefits for Karwa Chauth
“I was smitten by the romantic idea of Karwa Chauth. I was more concerned about the gift I would receive and flaunting about it in college.” That’s Richa Saini, a bride who celebrated her first fast mere days before her wedding, 20 years ago.
Recalling her naïve self, Richa explained that she came from a conservative Punjabi family and her then husband-to-be was the first boy in her life. The two had planned to end the fast with a dinner. “This was the first time I was going outside without my parents and that too with a boy. We had made plans to go to the Meridien and then, my school-going brother was sent along as a chaperone. It ended up becoming a brother-sister fight between us on who should go to the hotel, while he (my husband) was listening to it with bemusement.”
Kalpna Kashyap shared a similar experience. “My husband-to-be was in London and through the day, I kept receiving calls from him, my to-be mother-in-law and sister-in-law. They kept sharing different tips for the day and asking for my well-being. There were so many calls that my brother turned into a commentator, delivering the highlights for each call to everyone.”
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Karwa Chauth Story: Being the Obedient Bahu
“Regressive.” That’s the word that comes to writer Manisha Goyal Mahajan’s mind when she looks back at the thought process she had faced during her first Karwa Chauth experience. “I felt a little out of place during the Katha rituals (even though I was the centre of attention). The rituals were held at his aunt’s place and I had to touch every lady's feet, which to me was disgusting.”
Then, why did she do it? “I kept it because I was a person who had thought that I would do everything that was told to me after marriage.” A working woman, Mahajan had taken a half day off, before getting ready for the evening ritual. “The day was tiring as I was not used to getting up so early and stuffing myself up.”
Being the obedient bahu was the reason for Amrit Alhuwalia as well. “I was a little unsure over whether I wanted to do it. In the end, I did it because everyone expected out of me as a just married bride. I did like the experience, with the way my family kept doing something or the other to keep me occupied.”
Vow for Karwa Chauth: a Celebration of Love
“It was a beautiful experience, especially as I was fasting for my soon to be husband – an emotional mix of elation, shyness and love.” That’s Sonali Dadu, who continues to fast as a tradition, though she’s pretty clear that her first one had been kept by heart, out of love.
Now a mother of one, Dadu claims she did not even realise where her entire day went. “The first half of the day went by in dressing up and pooja and the other half went by in the excitement that he would be here. He came, we stole glances at each other and then even had a ‘lovey-dovey’ photo shoot.”
Tender, Love and Care This Karwa Chauth
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For Chakshu Arora Singh, her first Karwa Chauth experience was all TLC, not just from her husband’s end, but also her MIL. “In my in-laws, they don’t observe a fast, but they do so at my mom’s place, which is why I also wanted to do it.”
After a Puja at noon, her mother-in-law insisted that she take a bite. “She said that you don’t need to stay hungry for the full day and forcefully fed me fruits and milk. I took a little so that I could maintain it as my tradition for the later years.”
From him, there was a tender gift too. “I went shopping with my hubby. He gifted me a Mangalsutra as it was not given during the wedding. Then, at night my husband bought a cake for me to cut just before we sat down to have dinner after the pooja.”
Pamper Yourself This Karwa Chauth: Spa Day Treat
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Kirtika Sharma, 29 chose to go a different way with her own Karwa Chauth experience. Held 10 days after her wedding last year, Sharma felt too tired to take up the rigorous ritual in its entirety. “I had smiled until my cheeks hurt and touched enough feet to last a lifetime. I was done with rituals and ready for a break until my mother-in-law offered me a me-day.”
So, what did she end up doing? “Not the fast, at least. I went for a spa day for a pampering session, before I dressed up to sit for the ritual prayers. Though I wasn’t keeping it, Ma requested that I sit in and be a part of the festivities. That also meant choosing what to wear for it.”
She chose her bridal lehenga, reliving her wedding day experience. “I brought it all out – the bridal Kalire to go with my bridal churas, the heavy gold jewellery set and getting my bridal makeup back up. It was really worth it, even if all I did was pose for pictures over and over.”
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Karwa Chauth Coincides With Honeymoon Tales
“I was looking for the moon during my honeymoon”, begins Arti Kochar when asked about her own fasting tale. “The Karwa Chauth coincided with my honeymoon dates and we didn’t change our plans, promising that we will do something on this special day.”
What did she do? “We made a video call home to listen to the ‘Katha’ and I broke the fast by the moonrise. I did not give up on water though and had some juice too. The toughest thing for me was to figure out the best direction near our resort, where we could catch a glimpse of the moon.”
Another Arti, Artee Chibber, eagerly awaits her first Karwa Chauth this week. "Our honeymoon and the fast are on the same day. I can't think of a better way to mark the Chauth than with the special time I get with my husband."
In the end, a Karwa Chauth and other such wedding-related traditions aren’t just about the rituals and ceremonies involved. They’re landmarks in a bride’s life, cherished with the emotions that accompanied them the first time around. Make your first Karwa Chauth much moire special by choosing trendy Karwa Chauth mehndi designs or getting your festivities planned by professional planners near you.
Which one of these Karwa Chauth tales and traditions were you able to relate to? Let this deluge of emotions grow – share your own experiences and expectations with us in the comments below.