The Hush Post| 13:35 pm| 2-min read
Festivals in India have been conceived to bring people, families, society together. Though it is a different story that we focus on material possessions distributed and accumulated — who gave what to whom?
Relationships have always been central to an Indian family. A lot of these filial ties are breaking away slowly. Yet there is a considerable chunk of people who still stick to old traditions and customs.
According to a myth, Karva Chauth goes back to the days of Mahabharata, when Arjuna went to the Nilgiris to meditate. Draupadi had a bad intuition about Arjuna and fasted for him. Arjuna returned back home safely and ever since the day is celebrated as Karva Chauth in India.
Nothing to do with husband’s long life
On a festival like Karva Chauth, the wife’s relations with her husband’s family is centre stage. The good wishes and blessings of the elders in the house are sought. Probably, it transformed into a distorted belief that the fast is done for the husband’s long life.
The in-laws too reciprocate their love with the care and attention they give to their daughters-in-law.
What do we eat in Sargi
According to tradition, the mother-in-law initiates the daughter-in-law into the auspicious day by offering her a ‘thali’ called sargi filled with eatables. This is to prepare her to fast without food and water for the rest of the day. The sargi comprises of eatables — sweets, dry fruits, coconut, sawaiyan, mathi.
Sweets are considered auspicious, fruits and coconut have water content which keeps the women hydrated during their period of fasting. The fried items like mathis keep them full. Sawaiyan with milk gives them the required minerals and calcium.
There are regional modifications to the sargi across north India, like cauliflower is the vegetable to be eaten with parantha in the morning along with sargi if you wish to. During the main meal ‘mash ki daal’ is important as it is loaded with proteins to make up for the lack of nutrition during the day.
In Central India like Uttar Pradesh, the fasting begins at wee hours on one day and finishes in the wee hours of the next day without a drop of water or morsel of food.
Make daughters-in-law feel special
Mothers-in-law also give their daughters-in-law jewellery items to make her feel special, being away from her parents’ home. It is to ensure that daughters-in-law are made to feel at home and special at their in-laws place.
In the latter part of the day, gifts are exchanged between the mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law. Though the gesture is symbolic, it has bred a market catering to the rising demands of the Indian-middle class.
Festivals becoming market-driven
Markets are full of fancy suits, sarees, make-up items, bangles, accessories, to cater to the Indian-middle class and make a big buck for themselves during the festive season. Although it helps in earning an extra buck for craftsmen like mehndi wallahs, karwa sellers, it is the big fish who gobble down the maximum profits.
Filial ties breaking up
In today’s era of nuclear families and varying degrees of independence sought by the younger generation, festival like Karva Chauth are slowly losing significance.
With their economic independence, women tend to become more liberal in their thought of the significance of festivals. Most of the young girls and working women have already shed fasting. They go by the practical needs of today’s modern living. They have found other grounds to appease and care for elders and the husband, if they really do. Otherwise, the family system seems to be slowly losing its glory. Its a cycle, what goes back, comes back sooner or later.