Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Teej ( Haritalika Teej)

Teej in Nepal 
Teej is the fasting festival of women in Nepal. It falls in the month of August or early September. Married women observe Teej fast to honor Lord Shiva and for long and healthy life of their husband. Unmarried girls also observe fast on this day for a good husband. Teej celebrations lasts for three pious days. Traditional dances and songs form an important feature of Teej celebrations. Red color is considered auspicious for women observing Teej fast and so most of them dress up in red or bridal clothes.

Teej Celebrations in Nepal
This is an annual festival of Nepali women. The festival is celebrated with utmost dedication and love by the women in Nepal. Preparations for the festival begin well in advance. Fabric stores, sarees and suit outlets are stocked with the bridal red color fabric. Women spend most of the time shopping when Teej is near.

Teej festival celebrations are carried further with sumptuous feasts and traditional performances. On this day, women dress up beautifully. They clad themselves in red colored apparels, wear glass bangles, heavy ornaments and apply henna. Teej gives women an opportunity to dress like the newly wed. They worship the epitome of divine marriage - Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, for longevity and prosperity for their husband and family.

Three Days of Teej
 Teej is a three-day-long festival in Nepal and each day has its own significance.
1. First day is called 'Dar Khane Din', the day to make merry.
2. Second day is a 'fasting day'.
3. The third day is called 'Rishi Panchami' in Nepal which is a day to
perform Teej Puja.

Dar Khane Din
 The first day of Teej in Nepal is called the 'Dar Khane Din'. On this day, the womenfolk dressed in the finest clothed gather at one place and perform traditional dance and sing devotional songs. A special food called 'dar' is eaten. Celebrations continue till midnight after which the 24-hour-long fast begins.

Fasting Day
The second or the fasting day of the Teej festival is dedicated to pujas and prayers. The holy Pashupatinath temple is thronged by women in red sarees to offer prayers to Lord Shiva. Women gather in the temple and circumambulate the Lingam (phallic symbol of the Lord) adorned with flowers, sweets and coins. The beautifully decorated idols of Shiva and Parvati are offered fruits and flowers to seek blessings of the divine spirits. Lighting of an oil lamp is very important part of the puja ceremony. It is said that the oil lamp should be kept lit all night to avoid bad omen.

Rishi Panchami
The third day of the Teej Festival is called Rishi Panchami. On this day, the seven sages of the Hindu pantheon are worshiped by women in a belief that it will cleanse all sins of the previous year. Womenfolk take a holy bath with red mud found on the roots of the sacred Datiwan bush, along with its leaves. After three hours of rigorous cleansing, they come out purified and absolved from all sins. After this they sit in a semicircle while a priest sitting in the middle chants devotional prayers. 

Significance of Teej
Rooted deep in Hinduism and cultural ethos - Teej plays a significant role in defining the true nature of relationship between a married couple. Besides, the festival provides much needed break to womenfolk from their daily household drudgery.

Religious Significance of Teej
Religious significance of Teej festival lies in devotion of Goddess Parvati for her husband Lord Shiva. It was on this day that the divine couple Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati reunited with each other after hundreds of years. Even today womenfolk commemorate this mythological event by observing 'Nirjara Vrat' for the well-being and long-life of their husband.

Climatic Significance
Teej celebrates the advent of monsoon season. Teej coincides with monsoon season and thus create a greater impact for its celebration. Taking full advantage of the beautiful climate at this time women enjoy themselves by swinging, singing and dancing in rain.

Break from Daily Humdrum of Life
Teej celebration has great significance for womenfolk as it gives them their much needed break from the daily humdrum of life. For married women it also brings a chance to visit their parents house and relive childhood memories. No wonder, women celebrate the festival with great mirth and enthusiasm. They pay special attention to their appearance and deck themselves in beautiful clothes and fine jewelry. Women also apply intricate patterns of mehndi on their hands and feet.

Strengthening Relationships
One of the foremost significance of Teej is that it helps in strengthening relationship between married couples. Women who observe fast for the long life of their husband in earnest devotion feel closer and more committed to their husband. While watching their wife straining themselves, husbands feel more special. They reciprocate by being more loving and caring towards their wife. Husbands usually express themselves by presenting gifts to their wife and being more sensitive towards their doting wives. 

Legends Behind Teej 
Teej is a major festival of a Hindu women. It is celebrated every year in the month of August/September with great enthusiasm and ferver. Festival of Teej dedicates the day's celebration to Goddess Parvati. The festival's theme is the devotion of women towards their husbands or to-be-husbands. Married and unmarried women adorn themselves to their best and pray for long life of their husband. Though Teej celebrates the advent of monsoon but there is a legend associated with it which makes the day more auspicious.

One of the most popular legend of Goddess Parvati led to Teej celebrations and women's devotion towards their husband.

Legend of Goddess Parvati

Teej celebrations originated from an age-old legend of Goddess Parvati. Hindu mythology states that Goddess Parvati reunited with Lord Shiva on this day. She went through hard-core tapasya or penance and took 108 births on the earth. The myth also states that she failed to have Lord Shiva as her husband till 107th birth. In her 108th birth, Lord Shiva realized her devotion and love for him and accepted as his wife.

It is said Goddess Parvati declared this moment to be highly auspicious for womenfolk and proclaimed that whoever invokes her on this day will be blessed with happy married life and whatever one desires. Women observe nirjala vrat and spend sleepless nights during the three day festival. This is symbolic to the penance which Goddess Parvati went through.

At the time of Teej, women dress up like a newly wed. They wear green, red and yellow attires, decorate their hands and feet with fascinating mehndi designs and sing devotional songs on Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva. Women express their happiness, thank and pray God for marital bliss. 

For More Information on Teej

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