I’ve come across Karva Chauth stories from couples of previous generations, particularly two in my own family, and they can be summarised as follows:
The women in the family, (who are now well above 60), used to keep Karva Chauth ‘vrat’ (fast) throughout the day. In the evenings, women in the family or from the neighbourhood would come together and perform the puja and open their ‘vrat’. The men, though aware of the occasion, were usually disinterested and were never part of the puja or opening of the ‘vrat’. They believed it was a woman’s occasion which didn’t need to include them.
This situation was the reality until the ’80s. Ask any of your grandmas, and they will narrate the same experiences.
I think celebrating Karva Chauth as a couple truly started in the ’90s when films embraced the occasion as a ‘love festival’ for lovers. Both husband and wife, who were devoted to each other, started celebrating Karva Chauth, which was seen as a day to express feelings.
In India, though a lot of festivals are celebrated for the couple, these occasions evolved over time as women’s festivals. If you go into the history of such festivals, you will see that was never the intention. Whoever started them, wanted couples to be together, and openly express themselves through these occasions. Because, in the struggles of life, we tend to forget what relationships mean to us.
These days, the husband also keeps the ‘vrat‘ or atleast he is on time, at home, for the puja and breaking of the fast. This changes the whole atmosphere in the house. Everyone is excited, even men, to be together for the festival. No matter how much difference we create between man and woman, both of them feel the happiness in the same way, by being together, being in the family, and doing things together.
Whether you are a man or a woman, to cherish love and also experience love in its entirety, it is important to go deeper into the feelings of love. I believe Karva Chauth is the biggest occasion to embrace love again, and come together, in spite of jobs and hassles of daily life. After all, you live once, and death can be at your door any day.