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Sunday, October 30, 2011


When we talk about Indian festivals, we all talk about Holi, Diwali, and many other festivals. Hailing from Punjab, many small festivals get shadowed by Baisakhi or Lohri. One such festival is Karwa Chauth. This a festoval of a whole days fasting where a wife fasts an entire day for the long life of her husband. More than that it is also a festival which brings about a special bond between a Mother-in-law and her Daughter- in-law.
The festival begins a day before when the mother-in-law gives Sargi to her daughter-in-law. Sargi is the auspicius gift wich she is given for preparing for the fast. Since this a festival which celebrated the power wrested in a woman to prolong the life of her husband, the gifts consists of all the things that would help her dress as a bride. These also include white angel hair vermicelli or sewaiyan.

Sargi consists of the following items
  • Henna
  • Kumkum
  • Red ribbon
  • Red clothes
  • Glass Bangles 
  • Make up articles 
  • Sewaiyan 
  • Sweets
  • Dry fruits 
  • Fresh Fruits 
  • Pomogranade
  • Sugar cane 
  • Coconut
  • Paan
All the above articles in the sargi are also called the Suhaag Pitari
The lady and her husband are supposed to cook the sewaiyan with milk and eat with fruits before the sunrise
and start the festival.

The most important part of this festival is called the Baya. This is the offering to the Gauri Mata which comes from the Lady's parents' house. This consists of Matthis or mathris. Basically a deep fried , shortened dough fritter. These matthis are of three types, Feeki or plain, Meethi or sweetened and one with the hole. The sweet ones and the plain ones are given to the mother-in-law as a gift.

To make a matthi st your place you have to proceed just like a short crust pastry:

300 g refined flour
75g ghee
chilled water
salt to taste
few crushed black pepper corns

  • rub the ghee into the flour till both are mixed evenly and the flour tends to show some binding 
  • add the seasonings and the water and make a firm dough 
  • rest for half and hour 
  • roll like a chapati and make incisions with a knife all over it so that the matthi does not fluff up like a poori 
  • deep fry on moderate heat 
  • the end product should be rich and flaky, and not too chewy. 

The lady spends her entire day dressing up like a bride and praying to the goddess for her husband's long life and success. At sunset, ladies gather together and pray and this process is called Baya Mansana and there is a special song that is sung during this ritual.

Veero Kudiye Karwada,
Sarv Suhagan Karwada,
A Katti Na Ateri Naa,
Kumbh Chrakhra Feri Naa,
Gwand Pair payeen Naa,
Sui Che Dhaga Payeen Naa
Ruthda maniyen Naa,
Suthra Jagayeen Naa,
Bhain Pyari Veeran,
Chan Chade Te Pani Peena
Ve Veero Kuriye Karwara,
Ve Sarv Suhagan Karwara.......

During this fast, the lady is not allowed to do a few daily chores, it is a superstitious belief that this will cause
ill health to her husband, she is not allowed to sew, run the mill or charkha, use of knife and scissors, no anger, not to wake someone who is sleeping.

At night when the moon rises, the ladies offer soaked almonds and water to the moon and thank god for the
successful completion of their fast. The look at the moon through the hole in the matthi and then look at thier husbands through it. the festivities are completed when the lady breaks her fast with the first bite of food and first sip of water from their husbands hand.

This festival may not be that talked about around the globe but holds a lot of significance in the life on an Indian bride.

India has many such stories and many such rituals, hope I bring a new story for you u next time over...