New Delhi, October 22: Karva Chauth, a festival that generally falls 10 days after Dussehra, is one of the most popular Indian festivals and is mostly observed annually in the northern part of the nation. It is a celebration of love, marriage and the unbreakable bond shared between a husband and wife.

The term Karva implies an earthen pot of water and the word chauth means fourth, signifying that Karva Chauth falls on the fourth day after Poornima (full moon), in the month of Kartik, according to the Hindu calendar.

On this day, women pray for the long life of their husbands by not eating or drinking anything and offering prayers to Lord Shiva. They break their fast after making various offerings and sighting the moon, which is also one of the most important celestial bodies as per Hindu mythology.

Women commence the day with a small early morning prayer, usually followed by sargi, which is considered synonymous with this festival as it highlights the deep-rooted love and respect in the Indian families. It is actually a pre-dawn traditional meal, a thali, or an assortment of different food items that married women receive from their mother-in-law on the day of Karva Chauth.

The meal is also said to provide ample energy for women to sustain themselves without food and water throughout the day. The sargi platter typically consists of seven, nine, or 11 types of bite-sized food items.

If you're keeping the Karva Chauth fast this year or sending a sargi to your daughter-in-law, make sure these things are included in your sargi thali to make it complete:

1. Fresh Fruits

Fresh fruits contain ample amounts of fibre and water. Since this fast involves staying without food and water, eating fresh fruits will keep women feeling fuller and also satiate their body's water requirements.

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Have citrus fruits like pomegranate, orange, pineapple to avoid feeling parched during the day as citrus fruits have high water content and this can help make up for the loss of hydration, throughout the day. Also, since fibre takes time to digest, hence, it will keep you off from feeling hungry.

2. Sweets

Eating anything sweet before you start something is considered auspicious in Hinduism. So, a few sweets are kept in the thali to lift your spirits and complete the fast on a positive note. Therefore, a sargi thali should mandatorily have sweets in it.

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Also, since they are rich in glucose and sucrose, a sweet or two will provide you with the much-needed energy to carry on throughout the day without feeling weary.

3. Dry Fruits

Nuts too are considered auspicious like sweets, but they are also high in nutritional content and calories. Being calorie-dense, a handful of nuts can help in providing ample energy and nutrition for those who would be fasting throughout the day.

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Including cashews, almonds, raisins and pistachios, among other dry fruits in the sargi thali, will supply you with all the essential nutrients that will keep you active throughout the day.

4. Lightly-Cooked Foods

Simple home-cooked foods that are easy to digest can also be part of the sargi. A couple of rotis, a simple sabzi and halwa will suffice to provide enough energy for the day.

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Also, while light-cooked foods are both nutritious and fulfilling at the same time, heavy foods will only make you sluggish and lethargic.

5. Coconut Water

You can start the day with this detox water on an empty stomach which helps in boosting digestion and shall help you go on with the day without any weakness.

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Coconut water is a detox for this day, as not only will it keep you hydrated on a nirjala fast but shall also keep your electrolytes balance in check.

Traditional values are not the only thing associated with the foods that are part of the sargi during Karva Chauth. It is also vital that it provides ample energy to women to sustain without food and water throughout the day. It's also considered a good omen to share the sargi with friends and relatives.

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While the preparations for the festival are in full swing, do not forget to add these healthy food choices from our list to your sargi thali. Happy Karva Chauth! By Devashish

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