Today was Karwa Chawth

Ten days before Diwali, on the fourth day after the new moon immediately after Dussehra, married women fast to ensure the long life, health and prosperity of their husbands (those with boyfriends and fiancés are supposed to be excluded). The Hindi word “karwa” is a clay pot with a spout, the symbol of peace and wealth. The pots are filled with sweets and given to daughters and sisters.


Many of the women working at the clinic took today off as a special holiday. They perform a strict ritual fast, even excluding water, from sunrise to moonrise. At night, the women offer water to the moon then break their fast.


This morning in the temple around the corner from our apartment, all the ladies were dressed in colourful new saris. New brides have their hands and arms tattooed with henna in elaborate patterns called “mehendi”. Some designs are so exclusive that it can cost £250 to have done (according to Delhi Times).

Instead of having a simple red dot on their forehead, the women go in for more exotic bindis.

No housework gets done today. And the husband is expected to come up with a special gift for his wife. Everyone is getting very excited about Diwali, the massive festival of lights, coming up soon. With Amazon India offering tempting discounts…not just on electrical gadgetry.

By Dr Alfred Prunesquallor

Maverick doctor with 40 years experience, I reduced my NHS commitment in 2013. I am now enjoying being free lance, working where I am needed overseas. Now I am working in the UK helping with the current coronavirus pandemic.


  1. I notice that you’re not commenting on the women fasting for the benefit of their husbands, Deb. As one lady told me, “At least it is a day without having to do household chores.”

    1. That’s a great answer from her…. You hadn’t better tell her I don’t do them the other 364 either, if I can help it 😇

    2. That’s a great answer from her….. Don’t tell her I don’t do them the other 364 days either, if I can help it 😇

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