Its Karvachauth time, again. If you live in the Tri Valley area, this year (2011) as well you can head out to Livermore Temple for the Karva Chauth Puja / Katha. There will be three sessions on Saturday, Oct 15, 2011 – including at 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM. The pooja sessions can be joined only in the beginning, else one would need to wait for the next session.
Within Bay Area, Sunnywale, Fremont Temples typically have huge gatherings of women coming coming in the evenings for Thali Puja. In the Tri-Valley area, the Livermore Temple is slowly but steadily becoming a nodal point for this north-Indian style puja as well (even as its predominantly a Venkateswara temple).
Mehndi/Henna – Putting Mehndi on the day, or the day prior, is also a big part of the tradition. Can’t see someone professional catering to the Tri Valley residents. So its either Do-It-Yourself, or there are other places in Bay Area to head to for about 25 bucks: Lovely Sweets-Tisha (Fremont) – 510-396-7501, or Sadia Fashion House (Fremont) – 5109968062, and probably many others.
There is special food for this festival too. Most of the grocery stores or “Sweet Shops” (like Cafe Tazza) in Dublin/Pleasanton will carry the stuff – Matthi (mostly sweet), Phenia-Jalebi, Cocunut, etc. is traditionally required.
At least in northern India, this festival has become a big fun (and big money and more!) event (beauty treatment and spas in Ludhiana, botox for Karwa Chauth in Delhi, and and even a Karvachauth mobile app that turns the screen of your phone into a ‘sieve’ / ‘chalni’, through which one can see the moon). There apparently are no big events or get-togethers that have caught up here, but don’t be surprised to see desi women, probably traditionally attired, in movie theatres in Hacienda and elsewhere during the day this time around! Get togethers in the evening to watch the chand (moon) together has become quite common, followed by dinner pot lucks.
The last thing is the big wait for the moon – that, especially on this day, seems always to play hide and seek. Moonrise on Oct 15 this year is slated to be at 8:38 PM for San Francisco.
About: Karva Chauth is an annual one-day festival celebrated by Hindu and some Sikh women in North India and parts of Pakistan in which married (and some un-married) women fast from sunrise to moonrise for the safety and longevity of their husbands (or future husbands). The fast is observed in the states of Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat. The festival has become a big deal with Indian diaspora, including in US.