Karwa Chauth is considered to be a very special day in the life of a married woman. It is a one day festival in which married women observe fast from sunrise to moonrise with much fervor and gaiety. The day falls on the fourth day of Kartik month in Hindu calendar, about nine days before Diwali in the month of either October or November. On this day, the married women specially pray to Goddess Gauri (Parvati) seeking the well-being, prosperity and safety of their husband.
The preparations of Karwa Chauth begin well in advance. Women buy special ornaments and dresses for this special occasion. On this day, married women get up early in the morning before sunrise and pray for the longevity and prosperity of their husbands. They then take a special meal called as Sargi, which consists of grains, sweets and fruits, generally given by women's mother in law.
Their fast begins at sunrise. On this special occasion, women dress up in beautiful traditional attires like sari, lehenga, salwar-kameez etc. They also adorn themselves with bangles, bindis on forehead and decorate their hands with hennas. The fast continues throughout the day until moonrise.
In the evening, married women gather at some common place or temple where Karwa puja is performed. They form a circle and carry plate or thali filled with chandan, kumkum, rice, pot of water and earthen lamp. An idol of Goddess Gauri and an earthen pitcher are placed in the centre of the circle where women are seated. During the puja, the elders narrate the stories of Karwa Chauth and women sing songs relating to Karwa Chauth . After the puja ceremony, they return to their home and start waiting for moon to rise.
When moon appears, women take a look at the moon through a sieve and worship the moon. They then look at their husbands through the same sieve and pray for his long life. The husband then offers her water and sweet to break her fast. This is then followed by sumptuous dinner.