Tag Archives: ritual

What I did not do yesterday…………..

Yesterday was Karwa Chauth – a day when married women fast and pray for the prosperity and longevity of their husbands. This ritual signifies their devotion to their husbands because they are willing to suffer for their husbands well-being.

Karwa means clay pot and Chauth means fourth night after the full moon.

On the morning of the fourth day after the full moon in the month of karti (9 days before the festival of Diwali), married women will dress in fine clothing, don bangle bracelets, and eat a meal prepared by their mother-in-laws. The meal is prepared and eaten before the sun rises. Then they will begin a day-long fast. They will eat nothing – they will not even have a single drop of water for the entire day.

henna-tradition

www.karwachauth.com

The women will spend the day visiting with family and decorating their hands and feet with henna (mehendi).  It is believed that the darker the mehendi appears, the deeper the love of their husband is for them. They also exchange gifts with their in-laws.

At the end of the day, the women of the house will gather together and sit in a circle and share the folklore of Karwa Chauth. They will go around the circle 7 times. After the story-telling, the women will go out and make offerings to the moon. The offerings will be put in a clay pot and will include flowers, specially prepared food, and jewelry. They will light an oil lamp as a symbol of their reverence.

They will look for the moon in the reflection of water in a thali (selection of different dishes served on a round tray) or through a dupatta (long scarf) or sieve (a colander). After they see the moon, the women will break their fast with a meal offered by their husbands.

One of my friends in India told me about her experience with Karwa Chauth. Last year was her first year as a married woman and her new husband joined her in her fast. Then he gave her a diamond necklace in appreciation for her devotion. This year, he did not join her in her fast. But this year, he is giving her a car. That sounds like a fair tit for tat. 😉

I know what some of you are wondering – is there a day that the husbands return the favor? The answer to that would not be yes.

Needless to say, I did not participate in the fast. Today, I am diamond necklace-less. But I am not hungry.

All in all, it sounds like a lovely way for women in a family to bond and celebrate their lives as women and as wives. Kind of a “we’re all in this together” experience.

The story below is an example of the legends the married women will share with each other (taken from Wikipedia).

The Story of Queen Veeravati

A long long time ago, there lived a beautiful girl by the name of Veeravati. She was the only sister of her seven loving brothers, who was married to a king. On the occasion of the first Karva Chauth after her marriage, she went to her parents’ house. After sunrise, she observed a strict fast. However, the queen couldn’t stand the rigors of fasting and was desperately waiting for the moon to rise. The seven brothers who loved her dearly, were very disturbed watching the distress of their sister and decided to end her fast by deceiving her. Then the brothers reflected a mirror through Pipal tree leaves. The sister, taken it as moon rise, broke the fast and took food. However, the moment the queen ate her dinner, she received the news that her husband, the king, was died. She wept the whole night. Then suddenly Goddess appeared and asked her reason of weeping. She explained the whole story. Goddess told her the truth that how her 7 brothers cheated her. She prayed Goddess to get back her husband. Goddess convinced her to repeat the fast again on Karwa Chaut with full dedication and devotion. She did the same and got her husband back alive.

RiTeS oF PaSSaGe………….

Our neighborhood has quite a few wonderful traditions – a fourth of July pool party that is pure insanity, Memorial Day cookouts, Easter Egg hunts, Halloween parades on spooky paths, and Santa comes riding thru the hood on a big honkin’ sleigh fire truck every December.

My kids love these little rituals. They bring everyone together – in the rain, in the snow, in the burning hot – neighbors come out in droves.  Most of the time we can’t wait to get there. Sometimes, it’s like going to the grocery store – even if you don’t necessarily feel like going, you go. Even if you don’t necessarily celebrate that particular holiday, you show up. It’s just part of what you do. And, we are always so glad we have been.

This year Bear was invited to ride on the fire truck with Santa. This was a big deal for him. He was more excited than he will ever admit. But I am his mother – I know how he feels about it. It is quite a rite of passage to go from the little kid receiving the reindeer food and the candy cane to becoming the big kid handing them out. Plus, you get to ride inside the big honkin’ fire truck. Seriously, it’s pretty cool.

I am glad he got to be up close and personal with Santa this year. He knows that this is not the real Santa. I have always told my kids that the Santas at the mall and on fire trucks are just helping the big guy out. He is much too busy to ride around on trucks and sit at the mall all day. But rest assured that all of these Santas have a direct link to the Jolly ole Saint Nick himself and they are taking names – so yes, you’d better watch out.  And as for me, I just happen to have Santa’s phone number – that is a whole mommy arsenal in the war against bad behavior.

But this year is a sad year for me because Bear is in a world of disbelief over the big jolly guy.  He is pretty sure he thinks that no one is the real Santa. He is no longer convinced. Believe you me, I am working hard to continue the lies I have perpetrated over, well, his whole life. This is because I know there is more to Santa than a red suit and a bowl full of jelly. It’s the magic that I don’t want him to let go of just yet. Not until he can get his heart around how wonderful it is to play Santa.

And, thankfully, he is a kind little bear. He has not shattered the hopes and dreams of his sisters. He has not said a word to them. Maybe he knows better – but I prefer to think that he is not absolutely, completely sure of his conviction just yet.

The other day, Bear happened upon some (hidden) stuffed animals that the kids had seen in the store and asked for. As many parents have said before me, I told them they should ask Santa for the ridiculously overstuffed and very large animals. Because there is no way in H-E-double toothpicks that I am buying them. He knew that his sisters would be going into that room, so he hid them. And he hid them pretty well. The reason that Bear stumbled upon these little surprises is because number one hubby sent the kids to that exact room to get out the Christmas decorations – I know, I know, he is going to lose that number one status quicker than the grinch stole Christmas – I immediately went downstairs to hand them out. To convince them they weren’t meant to be a surprise from Santa. Oh no, not from Santa.

Sigh. Another lie. These are surprises that Dad asked me to get for you I said to them with a completely straight face. He wanted to give them to you so you would think of him while he is gone. And, yes, we’ll figure out a way to get them to India and, yes, I will figure out what else Santa is going to surprise you with. Thanks dear.

So, I have a few tricks up my sleeve to convince Bear not to be so unconvinced just yet. I will let you know how it goes.

Number one hubby arrived this morning from India. So you may not read too much of me over the next fews days – you might – but you might not. We’ll see. But just in case, Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!