For some women it's like reliving a Bollywood fantasy, for others it's all about decking up as a bride, and for some it is just a fad. From a sacred fast to pray for the husband's long life, Karva Chauth today has evolved into a modern-day festival with all the trappings of a consumerist culture.
On the festival, celebrated Saturday, many married women in northern India observed fast. But over the years, a lot of young, single women also have started keeping fast in the hope of finding a good husband.
"Ever since I was a kid, I was fascinated with Karva Chauth because I have seen my mother and aunt keeping this fast, getting ready like a bride in the evening and looking beautiful. It was so magical and a reason to celebrate love," mediaperson Shikha Arora, who is celebrating her first Karva Chauth this year, told IANS.
"Ever since I got married, I knew I wanted to do this fast because it is such a beautiful custom. No matter how modern you are, your roots always remain the same," she said.
Actors like Tisca Chopra and Divya Dutta feel the festival goes beyond just fasting for the husband's long life.
"Happy fasting girls! All you husbands/boyfriends, try understanding the women in your life. No matter how impunctual, illogical and over emotional we may be, we do love you," Tisca, who is married to a pilot, posted on micro-blogging site Twitter.
Divya, who is single, tweeted: "Karva Chauth for me is very romantic! My married friends don't agree much! Guess I've lived on the filmi Karwa Chauths like in DDLJ ('Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge') hmmmm."
Even celebrity wife Sussanne Roshan, who is a successful interior designer in her own right, is observing the fast.
"Today is Karva Chauth...happy fasting to all you beautiful women...have a super day and may all your wishes for ur loved ones be blessed," Sussanne, married to Bollywood superstar Hrithik Roshan, wrote on Twitter.
Even though many feel the festival is sacred and important, a lot of working women also feel ladies observe the fast just because everyone else does, and add to the commercialisation that has cropped up around the festival over the years.
"It's more like a fad where most women keep the fast because of the trend. And this can be seen from the fact that how marketeers and brands today have taken out Karva Chauth special deals. Also why can't a girl live her long life too...why only the guy or the husband?" asks Divya Manhas, a 24-year-old ad sales executive.
Henna is a big thing on Karva Chauth. Women cue up in markets at least two days before the festival, and for mehndiwallas, it is a time to cheer because they can easily charge more than triple their regular rate.
"I had to wait for an hour to get mehndi on my hands. But it doesn't irritate you because you know this is one such day when these mehandiwallas make money. The rates go up hour by hour. I had to pay Rs.500 for a hand, and within half-an-hour, the rates just doubled," said IT professional Arti Chawla Kansal.
But women don't mind shelling out as much.
"You're are in a festive mood, you know it is one rare day when they make money, and you know it's one day when you are pampered by your husband...so why not make things special and romantic," she added.