Indian expat women in UAE celebrate Karwa Chauth

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Festival is marked by a day-long fast, prayers for the well-being of the husband

Dubai: Karwa Chauth, a widely celebrated festival in the north of India, dedicated to the beautiful bond of marriage, was marked by several Indian expat women in the UAE as well today.

Regarded as a romantic festival that celebrates unconditional love and the institution of marriage, Karwa Chauth is a day when the women keep a day-long fast for the well-being of their husbands.

Praveen and B.M Bakshi.

Parveen Bakshi, 72, who is celebrating her 52nd Karwa Chauth, said it is an age old “riwaz” or custom which is being passed on from generation to generation.

Dr.Vivek Bakshi hosted a dinner at his residence on occasion of karva chauth
Attended by:
Mrs. Parveen Bakshi & B.M. Bakshi
Mrs. Sweety Burman & V.C. Burman
Radhika & Dr. Vivek Bakshi
Manju & Ashok Puri
Shally & Tarun Sharma
Shivangi & Ankush.

Hindu women belonging to India keep a fast on the fourth day after Purnima (a full moon) during this month (of Kartika) and pray for the long life of their husbands, she said. “Like many Hindu festivals, Karwa Chauth is based on the lunar calendar.

Mrs. Sweety Burman & V.C. Burman

Married women, especially in North India, observe the fast from sunrise to moonrise for the safety and longevity of their husbands,” she explained.

Radhika and Vivek

Parveen’s daughter-in-law Radhika, 46, married for 23 years now, said the festival is predominantly celebrated in New Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, to name a few states.

She said when it comes to love, there is no sacrifice and fasting should not be considered as a sacrifice. “It is a prayer for the husband’s life and good health.”

Manju Puri & Ashok Puri

What does the Karwa Chauth mean?

Shelly Sharma , 43, said: “Karwa is another word for an earthen pot used for drinking water in ancient India. Chauth means fourth, referring to the festival falling on the fourth day of the month of Kartik.”

The festival also refers to a time where wheat is grown in India. “My ancestors said big earthen pots were used to store wheat and it was called Karwa. The fast was also done by women to pray for a good harvest – especially in the North Western region of India,” said Shelly who is married to Tarun.

Another story suggests the day is celebrated for love and marriage. “A few days before Karwa Chauth, married women buy new Karwas (spherical clay pots)—7-9” in diameter with two to three litres capacity and paint them on the outside with beautiful designs. Inside, they put bangles and ribbons, home-made candy and sweets, make-up items and small clothes. The women would then visit each other on the day of Karwa Chauth and exchange these Karwas. Our tradition is so beautiful,” said Shelly.

Indian expat couple Ankush and Shivangi Nayyar who also kept the Karwa Chauth fast today.

She said her husband also gives her a gift for the effort she takes to fast for his long life. “I don’t know what I am getting today. Last year, it was a diamond bracelet, the year before it was a gold chain. It gets better and better every year,” said Shelly.

“On this day women observe fast from sunrise to moonrise,” said Sweety Burman, 70, who is married to Vivek, 72.

She said: “They break their fast by drinking water after seeing the moon at night. The day starts with eating sargi or a pre-dawn meal. After getting a glimpse of the moon through a Karwa Chauth Channi or sieve at night, women finally break their fast. However, fasting on Karwa Chauth can be difficult for many as one has to abstain from even drinking water. Hence it is important to watch what one eats when she breaks her fast.”

Shally & Tarun Sharma

She said, “My husband is always concerned about me fasting. Today also he said I don’t have to really keep the fast. He knows I love him and he loves me a lot. I have been keeping the fast for 54 years. I have had a number of health issues, but I will not stop. It is a tradition I have followed and will not give up.

Manju Puri, another Indian expat, said: “We pray at 4pm and usually everybody dresses up. The day passes by quickly.”

She said: “While Karwa Chauth is celebrated mostly by married couples, the fast is also kept by unmarried ladies to mark the day for their future husbands. Some perform the rituals for the love of their lives, their fiancés or simply to pray to God for that ideal life partner. For me, Karwa Chauth is my way to express my love for my husband and this is the best way to show it. This is also a way to show gratitude to God for giving me a great husband.”

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