My informant M is my 49-year-old mother. She follows many Hindu traditions and religious holidays even though she lives in America. She has found a community of friends who also celebrate many of the same traditions as well.
In this piece, my informant goes into great detail about the history of a one-day festival called Karva Chauth. She also explains her extensive experience celebrating the tradition with it to me (AK).
M: (Reading this from a website) Karva Chauth is a one-day festival celebrated by Hindu women in many countries in which married women fast from sunrise to moonrise for the safety and longevity of their husbands. … The festival falls on the fourth day after the full moon.
M: Well this is correct, I just fast until I can see the moon.
AK: Do you remember how long ago you started doing this?
M: I have done it ever since I was married because this tradition is for married women and done for their husbands.
AK: Can you tell me anything about how this tradition started or was created?
M: Sorry I don’t know the story that well. I can try though. It’s about a woman named Karva who was devoted to her husband. The husband was killed by a crocodile and after the wife threatened Yama, the God of Death … I think he sent the crocodile to hell and brought the husband back to life. That’s all if I remember it correctly.
AK: Wow, that’s a really great story.
I distinctly remember this tradition because I remember as a child I would love to help my mom look for the moon. Some years, if the sky was especially cloudy, it would be very difficult to locate the moon, and I remember feeling like it was my duty to seek out and find the moon.