Women start their preparations for the pooja, the day prior to the festival. They buy shringars (adornments), pooja items, henna, matti (powdery mus), etc. well in advance. They have their food before sunrise, putmehendi(henna) on their hand and feet and visit their friends and family.
In the evening, all the women gather at a common place either at someone’s house, temple or garden, wherever the Pooja is arranged. The legend of Karwa Chauth is then narrated by an elderly women or the pujarin (priestess). During this gathering, a special mud pot is kept to symbolize lord Ganesh. An idol of Goddess Parvati, fruits, flowers and food grains to offer to the deities are also placed at the pooja venue.
A pitcher with water is kept at the center of the gathering. Each women carries with her a thali (plate). While listening to the Karwa Chauth legends, each of the women light diyas in their thali. Once the puja is over, women pass their thali to the elder most member of the gathering, who then blesses all the others for happiness in life.
The pooja thali is otherwise known as ‘baya’ and contains vermilion, sacred water, dry fruits, diyas, Indian sweets, roli, earthen clay pots etc. Mostly rangoli, alpana, flowers, leaves, petals etc. are also used to decorate thali.
On this occasion women wear heavy saris, or chunris in red, pink or any other bridal colors. They wear all the signs of married women, like bindi, earrings, nose pin, tika, bangles, chonp, etc.
When the moon comes out in the evening, women see its reflection in their thalis of water or through a sieve or dupatta followed by seeing their husband. After this, they offer water or prasad to the moon and ask for blessings, prosperity and long life of their husband. Husbands then offer food to their wives,with which wives end their fast.