ASIA SCENE: Holy Karwa Chauth, ‘the fast of love’

Saturday November 03 2018

Sighting the moon through a sieve during Karwa Chauth fast. PHOTO | COURTESY


The socio religious festivities that took a flying start in the middle of October culminate into the festival of lights, Diwali, this Wednesday.

This is easily the most ecstatic of Indian festivals as it not only marks the coronation of Lord Rama as the King of Ayodhya on his return from 14 years of exile after defeating the satanic forces of evil.

The festivity takes a brilliant dimension as traditional lamps are lit at residential and business premises.

The little lamps are a symbol of communality as the barriers of separation based on economic status, race, creed and class cannot stop the spread of light and the lamps rekindle the message of love peace brotherhood and harmony.

A major festivity ritual that glorifies the sanctity of marriage and love was celebrated last weekend.

Karwa Chauth is a fast observed by millions of married women who refrain from eating and drinking until they see the moon. To prepare for this fast, it is a tradition for the believers to buy new clothes, jewellery and cosmetics to look their best. They also apply Mehndi to their hands and feet.


On the day of the fast they rise before dawn and eat sweets and fruits and the fast begins at sunrise. In the evening the women gather, dressed up, offering prayers and waiting for the rise of the moon.


Once the moon is sighted it is customary for the fasting woman to view it through a sieve and pray for her husband’s well-being physically, spiritually, financially and for a happy married life with him.

She then turns the sieve to look at her husband who offers the first sip of water. The fast is broken and the woman feels spiritually strengthened and fulfilled.

Equally, the eternal bond of love, marriage and togetherness is rejuvenated. It is said that the fast is related to the sense of security, is a symbol of sacrifice on the part of the woman and defence against adversity for the couple and the family at large.

The Diwali lamps this time have also enlightened us about what theatrical and musical extravaganzas are lined up to brighten our entertainment stage in days to come.

Vibgyor and Wacha Story Kenya who brought colourful musical diversity in our world of theatre with A Shaft of Sunlight last June are all set to present a spine chilling Gujarati horror comedy Bhoot Bangla at the Oshwal Junior Academy Auditorium from Friday 23 to Sunday 25 November.

From what I hear my favourite radio and stage personalities Nilofer Abji and Alykhan Sorathia together with a cast of other talented performers are in a ‘Halloweens’ mood and attire to entertainingly scare and make you jump on your seats.

And of course the lights of festivity are also shining bright on Navrang Fine Arts Foundations soul enriching musical Jugalbandi. Music lover just cannot wait to experience a live Hindustani musical treat from the visiting Messiahs of the art on 25 November at the Oshwal Centre.

And finally an apology -- it was reported last Sunday that Hindi Samiti was declared the lucky winner of the Government of India’s award of half a million Rupees. In fact, the amount was a Grant by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations through the High Commission to all cultural societies in this region that promote Hindi language and culture. Any misunderstanding is sincerely regretted.


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