Karva Chauth: A day to fast and be pampered
"Many people feel this festival is regressive in nature and shows submission of wife to her husband. But that is just one way of looking at things. I see this festival as a day for myself where my husband pampers me a lot... much more than he usually does," Sharma, an advertising professional, told IANS.
"One also gets to meet female friends and neighbourhood women on this occasion," she added.
On the festival, being celebrated on Saturday, Oct 11 this year, many married women in northern India keep a fast from sunrise to moonrise for their husband's long life and well-being. These women begin their day taking the traditional sargi, a sweet made of milk and semolina, before sunrise and fast for the rest of the day until moonrise.
This is Vartika Arora's first Karva Chauth after marriage and her excitement is palpable.
The 26-year-old visited Lajpat Nagar in south Delhi area on Friday to get a heena design made on her hands. In the morning, she followed all rituals and is now eagerly waiting for the evening for her Bollywood fantasy to come true.
"So far I had seen women breaking their Karva Chauth fast only in the movies. For the first time I will be actually doing it myself today. So... I am very excited," Arora, a housewife, told IANS.
Even though she had to pay Rs. 500 for mehandi, Arora feels it is worth the price.
Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra took to Twitter to admit that this is her favourite festival.
"Happy Karva Chauth to all the ladies observing...my favorite festival. Sacrificing for the one you love..looking at your chaand..God bless(sic)," she posted.
For the past few years, many husbands have started observing the fast along with their wives for their well-being.
This year, many men have pledged their support to #FastForHer, a social initiative by online matrimony website Shaadi.com, and have joined their wives.
Celebrities like Chetan Bhagat, Jay Bhanushali and Hiten Tejwani are supporting this online initiative.
There are many like Lovely Singh, who haven't kept fast, but have chosen to wake up with the women of their family for sargi.
"I am not fasting for Karva Chauth, but I woke up in the morning to have sargi with my mother and sister," said 22-year-old Singh.
For Neha Sharma, this festival is about "prayer for well being of my loved one".
"For me karva chauth is about prayer for well being of my loved one. Some beliefs never fall apart," she said.