Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 12th 2014 Contents A50
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt October 12, 2014
The Chinese Association of Trinidad and Tobago
The cricket was going great, the
stadium was packed and then all of
a sudden a number of fans started
streaming out at around 7pm.
The game was still on, so it was
not a case of the home team losing
and the fans deciding to go home to
avoid the rush. It was a case of Sat-
urday being a very auspicious day
in India called Karwa Chauth.
What is Karwa Chauth? Well
Karwa Chauth coincides with
Sankashti Chaturthi a fasting day
observed for Lord Ganesha.
The fasting of Karwa Chauth and
its rituals are observed by married
women for the long life of their hus-
bands. Married women worship Lord
Shiva and His family including Lord
Ganesha and break the fast only after
sighting and making the offerings
to the moon.
The fasting of Karwa Chauth is
strict and observed without taking
any food or even a drop of water
after sunrise till the sighting of the
moon in the night.
Now I have experienced this before
in Trinidad because my wife Nadine
would normally do it for me, once
I am in the country. She would fast
for the entire day and only eat veg-
etarian mean, when the moon is
A simple ritual needs to be per-
formed at the sighting of the moon,
the women would offer milk or water
to Lord Shiva and then her husband
would have to feed her the first
mouthful off food with his own
This is why the married men
whose wives were observing it, had
to rush home, because when the
moon was sighted the poor wife
would have been anxiously awaiting
her food, after her long fast.
The people of India are very seri-
ous about their rituals and obser-
vances and cricket or no cricket they
were off to their homes. During the
day here in Delhi on Saturday people
were out shopping for gifts and
sweets to mark the occasion. The
husband would normally purchase
a gift for his wife, in appreciation
of her sacrifice.
There is another story about the
origin of this festival. Earlier, girls
sometimes barely teenagers used to
get married, go and live with their
in-laws in very remote villages.
Everyone would be a stranger there
for the new bride. In case she had
any problems with her husband or
in-laws, she would have no one to
talk to or seek support from.
Her own parents and relatives
would be quite far and unreachable.
Telephones, buses and trains were
not heard of in those days. People
had to walk almost a whole day to
go from one place to other.
Once the girl left her parent's
home for in-laws, she might not be
back before long.
Thus the custom started that, at
the time of marriage, when bride
would reach her in-laws, she would
befriend another woman there who
would be her friend or sister for
life. It would be like god-friends
or god-sisters. Their friendship
would be sanctified through a small
Hindu ceremony right during the
The bride's friend would usually
be of the same age (or slightly older),
married into the same village (so that
she would not go away) and not
directly related to her in-laws (so
there was no conflict of interest
Emotionally and psychologically,
it would be very healthy and com-
forting for the bride to have her own
relative' near her. Once the bride
and this woman had become god-
friends or god-sisters, they would
recognise their relation as such.
They would treat each other like
real sisters. During any issues later
in life, involving even the husband
or in-laws, these women would be
able to confidently talk or seek help
from each other.
Moreover, the bride's parents
would treat her friend just like their
own daughter. Thus Karva Chauth
started as a festival to celebrate this
special bond of friendship between
the brides and their god-friends.
The notion of praying and fasting
for the husband came much later
and is secondary.
It was probably added, along with
other mythical tales, to enhance the
meaning of the festival. In any case,
husbands would always be associated
with this festival, because the day
of starting this friendship between
two god-sisters was essentially the
day of bride's marriage to him.
A simple ritual needs to be performed at the sighting of the moon, the women would offer milk or water to
Lord Shiva and then her husband would have to feed her the first mouthful off food with his own hands.
Only bachelors in the Stadium
The fasting of Karwa Chauth and its rituals are
observed by married women for the long life of their
husbands. Married women worship Lord Shiva and His
family including Lord Ganesha and break the fast only
after sighting and making the offerings to the moon.
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