Having married into an NRI Punjabi family, I learnt the differences very quickly. My very first Indian festival in NYC came with its baggage of being a Bhartiya Nari. Wow, people in Long Island had not caught up with the times or changing India! (This was 18 years ago and a lot has changed since then, thankfully). I don’t think back then I was given a choice of whether I would keep the Karva Chauth fast! But a few years went by and over time I realized I enjoyed keeping up with the tradition. I didn’t conform to any particular rules around the fast, but what I have done over time, is understood why I keep it. Somebody recently told me integrity is when you are alone and perform without any pressures of “you have to”!
- I keep the KArva Chauth fast because I believe in tradition. I believe in the value of prayer and intention. For years women prayed on this auspicious night And I believe in its collective energy. I believe it will eventually bring out the good in all of us, the keeper of the fast and the recipient. Perhaps even make us all introspect a bit. Which is like winning a battle. Yes I detox that day and I dry fast, but then, these nutritionists seem to be raving about it recently. So it’s a win-win.
- I do it for my partner in crime to show my support and solidarity to him. It’s one night in the year that I do send out a heartfelt prayer for our relationship and our future together.
- Now, this is the most important reason why I keep the fast. I do it for my Mother-in-law and Sister-in-law and their excitement and belief in the tradition. I do not do it to be one with them, in fact, for years they have felt I don’t do it the right way! But I still do my version, out of respect. It’s respect towards my elders, my family and their joy! Yes, I can challenge the tradition and my husband would totally support me in it, but here I am telling my daughters, that somethings in our religion are beyond logical reason. It’s done for faith and belief and it’s a way of keeping us all together and celebrating, whatever form that might be!
– Bhavana Phul