Much like its neighboring states, festivities related to Karva Chauth start early in the morning when married women wake up before the sun rises and get ready. A night before Karva Chauth, the woman’s mother sends Bayaa which consists of clothes, coconut, sweets, fruits, and sindoor (vermillion) for her daughter, and gifts for the mother-in-law. The daughter-in-law is then supposed to eat the Sargi (a meal consumed before sunrise on the day of Karva Chauth) given to her by her mother-in-law. It includes fresh fruits, dry fruits, sweets, chapatis, and vegetables.
As afternoon approaches, women come together with their respective thalis (a large plate). It contains coconut, fruits, dry fruits, a Diya (lamp), a glass of kachi lassi (a drink made of milk and water), sweet mathri, and gifts that will be given to the mother-in-law.
The thali is covered by a cloth. The women then come together and sit circling the idol of Gaura Maa (Goddess Parvati) and the story of Karva Chauth is narrated by a wise elderly woman who also ensures the pooja is performed in the correct manner. The women then start to rotate the thalis around the circle. This is called thali batana. This ritual is performed seven times.
SARGI AND FOOD
Karva Chauth starts early as women wake up at dawn on the day of the festival to have a Sargi. In east India, Sargi comprises of feni (vermicelli) which is dipped in sweet milk, a plate full of sweets and savories, coconut, dry fruits, fara (steamed lentil dumplings) and gifts such as traditional Indian wear and jewelry.
The most important items of this gift are those which serve as markers of the marital status of a Hindu woman. These include toe rings, anklets, glass bangles, vermillion, bindi/tika, and Alta (red paint which is applied on feet). Women also apply Mehendi (henna) on their hands.
The religious ceremonies begin a little before the moonrise when ladies dressed in their festive attire and bedecked in traditional jewelry and flowers come together with other ladies of the neighborhood to pray.
After this, women sing songs related to Karva Chauth and exchange their thalis in a circle, and offer prayers to Goddess Paravati. In some other areas, the mother-in-law and daughters-in-law perform the prayers at home and exchange the karvas with each other. Then the older women bless the younger ones with words such as ‘Akhand Saubhagyavati bhava or ‘sada suhagan Raho,’ both of which means ‘may you be a married woman all your life.’