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Eat Pray Love: Indian American Women Celebrate Karva Chauth With Traditional Piety and, Of Course, Gaiety

Eat Pray Love: Indian American Women Celebrate Karva Chauth With Traditional Piety and, Of Course, Gaiety

  • Dressed in Indian clothes, women gathered to celebrate the annual festival by observing a fast from sunrise to moonrise and praying for the well-being and longevity of their husbands.

Dressed in colorful salwar suits and saris, henna on their palms, bangles on their wrists and a decorated thali in their hands, Indian American women gathered to celebrate Karva Chauth on Oct. 24.

The one-day festival is observed annually by married women in which they observe a fast from sunrise to moonrise and pray for the well-being and longevity of their husbands. It is said that this festival began when women started praying for the safe return of their husbands who went to fight wars in far-off lands. It also marks the end of the harvest season.


Social activist and lawyer Anu Peshawaria of San Francisco, Calif., celebrates Karva Chauth on Oct. 24. Top Photo, Peshawaria gathers with friends to celebrate the festival.

For many it’s a day of fasting in celebration of love, marriage and partnership, a ritual that not only brings couples closer together but also the women who perform the puja together, giving it a social and romantic connotation. Some host Karva Chauth parties either to break the fast or a day earlier to apply henna or early morning the day of the fast to eat the sargi. The husband fasts along with his wife and buys her expensive gifts.

Peshawaria celebrates Karva Chauth with friends.

In Dallas, Texas, Chander and Preeta Monga celebrated the festival with over 50 women at their home. The saas and bahu duo has been hosting Karva Chauth for the past 30 years. “The holiday is a rare opportunity for mothers and daughters-in-law to team up and celebrate together,” Preeta Monga told American Kahani. “According to North Indian tradition, women decorate their thalis, adorn themselves with clothing and jewelry, meet with friends, and pray for their husband’s long lives,” she added. “They pass their thalis clockwise as they recite songs, listen to stories, and build lifelong friendships.”

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Chander Monga and her daughter-in-law, Preeta Monga, with friends at Karva Chauth celebration at her home in Dallas, Texas, Oct. 24.

Scenes like the ones in the Monga household were seen all across the country. Sonia Sharma, of Hillsborough, New Jersey and her friends went to the Durga temple in Princeton, to perform the Karva Chauth pooja. In neighboring South Brunswick, New Jersey, Harmeen Dandona had few of her friends over. The ladies performed the rituals and spent the evening catching up with their families and posing for photos.

Women perform Karva Chauth puja at the Monga home in Dallas, Texas, Oct. 24.
Entrepreneur Sonia Sharma of Hillsborough, N.J., celebrates Karva Chauth with friends at the Durga temple in Princeton, Oct. 24.
Talent and content creator Sumona Seth of New York celebrates Karva Chauth with friends, Oct. 24. “Happy Karva Chauth to all my ladies and the men who fast for their beloved ones,” she wrote in a Facebook post. Below,  Sumona Seth celebrates the festival of Karva Chauth with her husband Binny Seth.
Blogger Vandana Malhotra Puri of Edison, N.J., celebrates Karva Chauth at a friend’s house, Oct. 24.
Karva Chauth festivities at Harmeen Dandona’s home in South Brunswick, N.J., Oct. 24.
Shweta Agarwal of Santa Clara, Calif., celebrates Karva Chauth, Oct. 24 with her husband Vic Sharma.
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© 2020 American Kahani LLC. All rights reserved.

The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of American Kahani.
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