This traditional Indian holiday is a celebration many Indian women participate in every year that honors their husbands and their god-sisters. This celebration has changed over the years, but glass bangles continue to be a big part of Karwa Chuth.
Many years ago before telephones, cars, and trains, when Indian women married, they went to live with their new husband and their in-laws. This often meant leaving their friends and family far behind, leaving the bride without a confidant to talk to and help work out issues with her new family. To ease this transition, during the marriage ceremony another bond was sanctified between the bride and another women who would become the bride’s life long god-sister or god-friend.
The women would become sisters and best friends, giving the new bride a means to have someone close to confide her worries and hopes in privacy and confidence. Karwa Chuth originally was a celebration of this relationship between women and the marriage that brought them together. They would exchange gifts of food, glass bangles, henna, and bindi, and rejoice in each other’s company along with the loving happy relationship between husband and wife.
The bride’s in-laws would also give her gifts (glass bangles being a must) on this day to celebrate the good fortune of having a kind and loving daughter-in-law, and to show how much they love her.
As the necessity of god-sisters has waned, the Karwa Chuth celebration has gravitated more towards celebrating the well-being, prosperity, and longevity of a woman’s husband. A day long fast, from sun up to sun down, and prayer accompany the tradition of gifts. The fast comes from the Story of Queen Veeravati who both accidentally cursed and revived her husband with the help of Goddess Parvati.