Bollywood and Karwa Chauth: A 'commercial' love story

Over the years, the traditional practices of Karwa Chauth have vanished and a more commercialized festival has taken their place

A still from DDLJ
A still from DDLJ
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Garima Sadhwani

Remember a time when Karwa Chauth was just a festival and not a big day for shopping and sales? Well, neither does GenZ.

Celebrated in the Hindu month of Kartik, Karwa Chauth is a one-day fast observed by married women for the well-being and long life of their husbands. Over the years though, the traditional practices of Karwa Chauth have vanished and a more commercialized festival has taken their place.

For instance, the e-commerce giant Amazon, as part of its “Great Indian Festival” Sale, has a specially curated section for Karwa Chauth. In here, you can find everything from “Decorative pooja thali sets” to “Pooja samagri” to sarees and “Shringhaar”. The items on sale don’t just show you how materialistic the festival has become, but also highlights the very essence of the festival itself, patriarchy, since only household items and women’s style picks are on sale. Even the prices of gold jewelry have gone down in the wake of Karwa Chauth and Diwali.

Another e-commerce website, igp.com, has different sale sections- gifts for your mother-in-law, gifts for your daughter-in-law, for your wife, and what not. Similarly, Indiagift.in, will deliver at your doorstep literally anything you can think of related to Karwa Chauth- be it sargi, sweets or flowers.

The online beauty store, Nykaa, is offering up to 60% discounts on make-up and skincare products. Vasanasi Jaipur, another store, has a whole dedicated section on their website called “Karwachauth Focus” and unsurprisingly, every second piece of clothing on sale there is a bright red colour.

Oh, and as if this wasn’t enough, you’ll find countless listicles on the internet telling you that these are the five or six gifts you should get your wife this Karwa Chauth.

But we’re not saying whether this is problematic or not, because if we start with that, it will raise a whole lot of questions on the festival and tradition itself. All we’re asking is, when did Karwa Chauth become another one of those “super sale” days for commercial giants? When did this festival become a day that corporates look forward to?


Well, like a lot of other questions, the answer to this one too, is (*drumrolls*) Bollywood. There’s a whole dance-song sequence in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Baghban and a lot many Hindi flicks of the 90s to celebrate Karwa Chauth, and might one add, in a very elite fashion. How can one forget the dramatic scene in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, where Kajol pretends to faint, just so she can break her fast with SRK!

Well, there you go, Bollywood does elaborate things and people start following them in real life too. Thanks to Bollywood, even Karwa Chauth kitty parties, and Karwa Chauth get-togethers have become a thing.

Since a lot has already changed about the festival, how about you too try something new this year, and keep the fast for your wife? Or better, both of you let go of this patriarchal festival and just live your life?

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