(Hindu festival where a wife fasts for her husband’s wellbeing.) I do try to educate as well … with my little knowledge as a Brit Asian🤔🤷🏽♀️.
Within India there are so many festivals and religious days; so many of these suggest/insist/incorporate fasting. There are weird and wonderful combos that go from eating no salt, only fruit, drinking only water and eating specified foods. Only mums, aunties and the pandit (Hindu priest) and not forgetting Mr Google know the form. And so many are undertaken by women. Wonder which man thought that up that little gem? 👏🏾 Please ladies this is not another diet advert.
That brings me nicely onto Karva Chauth one of the main ones in the calendar. After waking before sunrise to eat something sensible you then don’t eat or drink until you see the moon that night. From my understanding it’s mainly a North Indian affair. It may just be linked to women coming together or related to harvest time. Unmarried women can fast too for their husbands to be !! I remember fasting even before being married – it was just a thing that you did. I must have been good because I got two husbands 😱.I did it for my first husband and now doing it for my second husband 🙄. I am consistent if nothing else. Your mini sacrifice is to protect them from harm and give them long life. As a fairly staunch feminist and independent women I have followed some debates where many say this is old hat and it’s not fair to the women. I am all for choice and nothing should be forced. So ladies if you don’t want to fast – just don’t.
You must be thinking what’s in it for the woman. Well the husband is supposed to shower them with gifts. I have educated Simon on this fact and we are currently negotiating the value of a day’s fast. We’ve established quite early on that it’s not quite a handbag. The negotiations continue. We are not supposed to do any housework and rest our under nourished bodies. We are supposed to dress up and newlyweds can actually wear their bridal gear again – that improves the cost/wear ratio somewhat. Then the icing on the cake is that you meet up with other women .All this may be sounding a little shallow 🤔. But seriously those who live near a temple will go and take part in prayers or gather together with family/friends. Southall temple comes alive at Karva Chauth. There are soooo many women looking beautiful in red shiny sparkly outfits with gold jewellery dripping and bindis adorning their foreheads. Doing the pooja and connecting with other women and the ceremony ofcourse is being conducted by male priests. I always had a chuckle over this.
Then as night approaches the women are thinking thank goodness 😅 and the search for the moon starts. We’ve all seen the beautiful moon this week in clear bright skies but oh no not on Karva Chauth. I think he intentionally plays hide and seek just to tease us. You silly women I’m just messing with you but not for too long. Phone calls are being made “have you seen it yet”. The next phase is to just walk up and down your street. The hangry point is “right we are getting in the car and searching further afield”. 🧐. Then on spotting the moon a pooja/prayer is done and you finally break your fast . At this point you also give your mother in law a gift.
So my day went something like this ..
5.30: alarm goes off . On Saturday morning ??
5.40: I am boiling milk and adding feni (vermicelli) so I can eat ! (For those of you that are wondering , I did indeed roast them the night before. )Although I am so stuffed from the night before that I struggle to do this justice.
6.00: I am back in bed
10.00: I finally get out of bed. My throat is parched but I remember I can’t drink.
10.15: I go downstairs and watch Simon and our house guest wolf their way through porridge/ croissants/coffee and fruit. I pretend not to care.
11.00: I feel the first rumblings
The next few hours pass by. I feel so weak that I stay on the sofa 😅.
4.00: I get ready. Not in a saree but dress and boots to get to the smoke for dinner.
6.15: arrive at the bar. No I don’t want anything thankyou.
8.00: get to Indian restaurant. Don’t they know what day it is? Why are they even serving food before the moon is out!!!
Official notification from temple is that 8pm is the go live time. I add on another few minutes for safe measure. Simon thanks me and we get on with dinner. The hunger pangs are all forgotten within seconds .
On a serious note as someone recently said let’s not forget the women who don’t have husbands for whatever reasons and are excluded from the celebrations. We salute you on this day where you may feel excluded.
Traditions are wonderful – even random ones that involve hunting for the moon!! Adapt and improvise- so although in town I ensured we were eating at an Indian.
It’s what’s in your heart that counts … right ? And as far as I’m concerned anything that brings women together , allows a bit of dressing up, gifts and then food can’t be bad. And who says that the men can’t join in?
And Simon know how I love eating and what a huge sacrifice this is for me 😉.
(Source: someone who knows more than me 👍🏽Karva Chauth is a one-day festival that falls on the fourth day after the full moon.Karva is a word for a type of clay pot while chauth means four. )