How The Significance Of Karwa Chauth Is Changing For Women

Women should not be shamed for celebrating Karwa Chauth traditionally, differently or not celebrating it at all. Every choice deserves equal respect.

Rudrani Gupta
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It is the festive season again and everyone is indulging in making special preparations. Amidst the excitement, people rarely care about the significance of the festivals they celebrate. In the frenzy, they keep following customs that they rarely understand. Yes, I am talking about Karwa Chauth. Today, women will be excited for Karwa Chauth which signifies festivities and love for husbands. Women buy sarees, lehengas, bangles and bindis to make the occasion special. They dress like brides to look their best and make the day memorable. But amidst all this, how many couples actually understand the significance of Karwa Chauth? How many women know the sexism rooted in this festival? And how many of them defy sexism and celebrate it as a festival of love instead?

Karwa Chauth is a special festival for every couple. But not everyone perceives it as an expression of equal love in &t=102s">marriage. In our society, only women are expected to observe the rituals associated with this festival and perform all the festivities. They are expected to observe the tough fast and wait till the moon shows up in the evening sky. All their effort is compensated by the belief that their gesture will ensure a long live for their husband.

While I was thinking about what to write about Karwa Chauth that has not been said before, my friend reminded me about Sati. This practice from the past is drastically different from Karwa Chauth, yet they have something in common- both restrict a woman's relevance in society to her role as a wife. Sati was a practice that interlinked a woman’s lifespan to that of her husband's. If the husband dies, the woman too needs to jump into his burning pyre and sacrifice her life. Similarly, Karwa Chauth is observed because if the husband dies, a woman’s life becomes meaningless and open to social scrutiny. While Sati has long been demolished, Karwa Chauth is still relevant in our society. So even today, a husband's long life is seen a boon for every married woman, but we see no such interpretations when genders are reversed.

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Undeniably today, the meaning and significance of Karwa Chauth is changing. Women are observing the fast not just to save themselves from social scrutiny but to express their love for their husbands. But the expression of love should be from both sides. Both husband and wife should observe the fast to pray for the long life of each other so that their sacred bond of love doesn’t break.

Let us also understand that the way one celebrates Karwa Chauth can be different from others. While many women consider it an occasion to dress up and click selfies, others consider it a regressive custom that puts women down. Some do the customs because it is a part of the family traditions, while others perform them to increase the chemistry with their husbands. But every form of celebration is valid until it is a woman’s choice. There is no particular way to celebrate Karwa Chauth and so women should not be shamed for celebrating it differently or not celebrating it at all. Moreover, as far as the significance of the festival is concerned, it varies with women. But one thing is for sure that no woman should perform Karwa Chauth under the pressure of patriarchal expectations.

Views expressed are the author's own. 

Karwa Chauth 2022