How to Celebrate Karva Chauth: 10 Steps (with Pictures)

Karva Chauth is an one-day long festival that is traditionally celebrated by Hindu women in North India. Women fast from sunrise to moon rise to safeguard and encourage their husbands’ (and sometimes fiancés’) longevity and safety. Read on to learn more about this ancient Hindu holiday.

Part 1 of 3:

Preparing For The Festival

  1. 1

    Know that the festival is held in the states of Rajasthan, parts of Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, and Punjab. Similar festivals are held throughout India, but Karva Chauth is unique to the northern region.

  2. 2

    Begin preparing for the festivities a few days in advance. If you’re participating in the festival, you might want to buy make-up and cosmetics (shringar), adornments, jewelry and Karva lamps and plates. Local shops and bazaars decorate their stores with festive Karva Chauth products so you won’t have a hard time finding plenty of fun options.

  3. 3

    Wake up before sunrise on the day of Karva Chauth.

    You should get up with your fellow celebrants before dawn and have something to eat and drink. If you’re partaking in the festivities in Uttar Pradesh, you’ll likely eat soot feni (a traditional Garbanzo bean and milk dish) with milk in sugar on the night before the celebration. This mixture allegedly helps to abstain from water the next day. The sargi(ਸਰਗੀ) in Punjab is a significant part of this pre sunrise meal.

    • The sargi is collection of sumptuous food items, and traditionally sent or offered to your mother-in-law by you, her daughter-in-law.
    • If you and your mother-in-law live in the same house, the pre-dawn meal will be prepared by your mother-in-law.

Part 2 of 3:

Participating In The Festivities

  1. 1

    Remember that the fast begins at dawn.

    This is a tough feat, but you won’t eat or drink throughout the day. And good news: you won’t have to perform household tasks, either



  2. 2

    Engage in community activities during Karva Chauth.

    In the morning, you’ll spend time with the other women in your community, and paint Henna on each other’s hands and feet. Before sunset, you’ll get together at one place (which can be someone’s house) to perform the rituals associated with the puja. Together,you’ll pray for your husbands’ well-being and longevity while passing bayas to one another.

    • The puja is a ritual during which people show reverence to a God, a spirit, or any other aspect connected to the Divine.
    • The baya is a gift basket with items such as Almonds, pieces of jewelry, and other items.
  3. 3

    Get your husband (or fiancé) involved.

    Note that even though this festival is geared towards women, husbands actively participate. They traditionally shower their wives with gifts and treats in exchange for the tough fasting and prayers. Aside from celebrating the bond between two female friends, this holiday also serves as a reminder of the eternal bond between husband and wife



Part 3 of 3:

Reviewing The Historical Background

  1. 1

    Know that women who got married left their own village or town to go live with their husband.

    They would share their in-laws’ home, and be completely cut off from their hometown. The tradition began when these newly wed women sought out a woman to befriend in their new environment. This bond would become tremendously important, and lead to this now widely-known festival



    • The new friend would become a god-friend or god-sister in the newly wed’s life.
    • The women would then give each other strength, and pray for they husbands’ well-being.
    • Karva Chauth signifies the loving bond between the newly-wed and her god-sister, or god-friend.
    • God-sisters and God-friends were treated like family members for life.
    • A story about a highly devoted wife, Karva, who saved her husband’s life provides a narrative background to the celebration.
  2. 2

    Be aware that this festival started in the northern and north Western parts of India.

    Though there are various hypotheses about the origin of this celebration, no one actually knows why it was only observed in northern India in the month of October. Here are a few widely accepted notions



    • The land was usually dry by October after the monsoon season.
    • Military campaigns and long-distance travel usually occurred in October and November.
    • Women started to fast to pray for their husband’s (and sometimes fiancé’s) longevity and safety as they resumed their travels and obligations.
  3. 3

    Be aware that the festival coincides with the wheat sowing season. The pots used to store wheat were large and earthen, and they were called karvas. The word Chauth means ‘forth’. There is some speculation that the festival also originated as a plea for good harvest.

  4. 4

    Keep in mind that Karva Chauth occurs on the fourth day of the waning moon in October.

    The celebration is also known as the ‘Krishna paksha’ in the month of Kartik in accordance to the Hindu calendar. There isn’t a specific date, but it’s always sometime in October



Community Q&A

Add New Question

  • Question

    Can I cook and cut during Karva Chauth?

    No, you should not use knives, scissors, or even needles for stitching.

  • Question

    What should I do with the old, used karva?

    Keep them in the temple or near the tree outside the temple. I used them to plant flowers and decorate my balcony.

  • Question

    Nobody celebrates Karva Chauth at my parents’ home. Can I perform Pooja alone?

    Though Karva Chauth builds relationships, you can perform it by yourself.

  • Question

    What gifts should a mother-in-law send?

    A mother-in-law should send a clothing item, and maybe some jewelery.

  • Question

    Does a daughter-in-law have to give a gift to her mother-in law?

    You don’t have to, but it’s appreciated.

  • Question

    Can I celebrate Karva Chauth if I am getting married in February of 2017?

    Karva Chauth can be celebrated before marriage, but this is not typical. Please check with your family members or local community for guidance on this issue.

  • Question

    Is there a tradition to give gifts to loved ones during Karva Chauth?

    It’s not mandatory, but you can.

  • Question

    How to keep Karva Chauth fast as I will be in Europe on the fast day?

    Location shouldn’t be an issue. Keep the fast regardless of where you are, to the extent that you are able.

  • Question

    Can I celebrate Karva Chauth as a Bengali?

    Yes, of course, if you wish to you may.

  • Question

    The Karvachauth Thalia are rotated in which direction, clockwise or anticlockwise?

    Make sure you hold the thali strongly, and then you should go around it clockwise 3 times and anticlockwise 4 times. Do not rotate the thali under any circumstances, as this may make your marriage life go rotating in circles.

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Unanswered Questions

  • What ingredients are needed to celebrate Karva Chauth?

  • What colors should not be worn on this day?

  • How do I break the fast if I can’t see the moon?

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  • Don’t eat too much once you break the fast. It’s important to drink plenty of water and eat healthy options.

  • Skip the fasting if you’re having any kind of medical issues related to health problems.

  • Don’t exercise during your fast.

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