The word “festivals” denote the “Tales of God”, symbolize the memory and great deeds of them around the world. Similarly, there are many different types of culture, customs, and religions around the world and we should respect them. Likewise, today’s topic is about Teej which is the Hindu festival among women in Nepal and India. Teej refers to the monsoon festival and primarily dedicated to Goddess Parvati and her union with Lord Shiva. It is celebrated in western and northern states of Nepal and India. Mainly, there are 3 types of Teej celebrated among Hindu religions which are Haryali Teej, Kajari Teej, and Haritalika Teej and within them Nepal usually celebrate Haritalika Teej. So, let’s talk about Haritalika Teej which is celebrated in Nepal at the time of Bhadra month (Aug-Sep).
Origin of Teej
Long ago, at the time where the existence of god was believed, there lived a beautiful princess named “Parvati” in Himalaya renown as the daughter of Himalaya. She was so beautiful and kind that all the gods in heaven use to admire her but she had someone else inside her heart. She always had a vision of him, trying her best to find who he is but never find him.
The god that Parvati admire was the god who has the power to destroy everything and also create everything. He is bright as the sun and has a heart like the ocean and the ruler of all, his name is “Shiva”. But the king of Himalaya who was the father of Parvati already arranged the marry of her with God Vishnu to have a prosperous life for her.
However, she didn’t like the decision of her father because she already decided to marry with Lord “Shiva”, so she left the palace with her friend’s help and went to the thick forest to hide. From then on, she lived a normal life sacrificing all the luxury. After seeing this, Lord Shiva became very pleased with her and decided to meet her to check her sincerity. He then took the form as rich Lord Vishnu to fill her heart with greediness but at last failed. After seeing her sincerity, God Shiva became very impressed then revealed his true identity in front of her and granted her one wish.
At last, Parvati realized that her dream to marry Lord Shiva became true and finally they get married then lived happily. So, the moral to this tale was “You can get anything if you tried with your heart”, and that’s why this day was renowned as Teej and celebrated once in a year.
Haritalika Teej is also known as “Nepal Women’s Festival” because it is celebrated by women for their husband and family to have a better and longer life. It usually falls under the month of Aug-Sep and celebrated for 3 days in a row. In this festival, we can see most of the women dressed in red Sari, red tika on the forehead, beautiful red bangles because it all symbolize celebration, love, and weddings. Mainly, in this day women go to Pashupatinath Temple to celebrate because Pashupatinath Temple is the place where Lord Shiva lingam existed. This festival is celebrated for three days as follows:
The first day of the Teej is called “Dar Khane din” which means eating varieties of nutritious food. In this day women usually gather at one place, may be their friend homes or relative homes, mother’s home of married girl and celebrate by dancing and singing in joy. This is the moment they express pains and pang through singing and dancing, getting freedom from their busy life and relaxing. The celebration often goes on till midnight, after which the 24-hours fast starts.
Note: Fasting means to abstain from all or some kinds of food or drink.
This is the day where some women fast for the whole day (24-hour) without a single drop of water also while some women take liquid and fruit only. Women takes fast in this day because they believed that Parvati also took a fast to get Lord Shiva. And that is why women often go to Pashupatinath to worship lord Shiva to get his blessing upon the husband and family. The main part of the pooja (worshipping) is the lamp which should be alight throughout the night which is believed to bring peace and prosperity.
The most unbelievable part of this day is that even when they don’t eat, they still sing and dance for the whole day and this is all for their family and husband to be blessed by Lord Shiva. That’s why we can’t understand the women, their kindness and that is why we men should take care of them.
The third day of this festival is Rishi Panchami. After the completion of the day 2 puja, women pay homage to seven saints or sages, offer prayers to their deities, bathe with red mud and brush their teeth found on the roots of the sacred datiwan bush. This act of purification is the final ritual of Teej and then the women will be considered absolved from all their sins.