Teej: The Festival of Women in Nepal

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The festival of women’s fasting is known as Teej, or Haritalika Teej. It typically lasts three days and occurs in the Nepali Bhadra month (August to September on the solar calendar). Pashupatinath holds a special Teej Puja to remember the reunification of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva. Nepalese women wear their stunning red saris during the Teej Festival, observe a fast in homage to Lord Shiva, and offer prayers for a successful union.

Teej is observed throughout a three-day period. The first day is referred to as “Dar Khani deen” or is a large feast. All of the women receive it from their other family members, particularly the guys. Women are excused from work on this day so they can attend a separate program put on by other women. It’s fasting day on the second day. All women observe a fast on this day in the hope that their devotion to God will grant them long life, wealth, and harmony with their spouse and family. Women who are not married watch with the hopes of finding a decent husband. The third or final day is crucial for the woman. The name of this day is Rishi Panchami. After doing the Puja from the previous day, the woman honors seven saints or sages, prays to the gods, and bathes in crimson mud that is found beneath the revered Datiwan tree together with its leaves. After they are thought to have atoned for all of their crimes, this act serves to purify the festival’s final ceremony.

Haritalika Teej: History and Legend

A long time ago, the ruler of the Himalayas had a lovely daughter named Parvati. Parvati was exceptionally bright and had a strong admiration for Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction and creation. But the king made the choice to wed Parvati to the prosperous Vishnu. Parvati managed to leave the house with the help of her companions, hiding in the dense forest. She subsequently started living a hermitic lifestyle. Shiva was shocked to learn this and made the decision to verify her genuineness. In an effort to entice Parvati to marry him, he pretended to be the wealthy Vishnu and rode in a luxurious chariot to meet her. Parvati, however, remained unfazed. Her tenacity so impressed Shiva that he revealed himself. Parvati wed Shiva, fulfilling her desire at last. Parvati was able to avoid the planned marriage thanks to the assistance of her friends. She was incredibly appreciative to them and threw a party to commemorate the successful outcome. This is where the Teej Festival began.

What is the purpose of Haritalika Teej?

Women fast on Teej and worship Lord Shiva in the hopes that single women will find a husband like Lord Shiva himself and that married women will have husbands who will live long and fruitful lives. Since Lord Shiva and Parvati’s reunion is celebrated on Teej, it holds religious significance. On Teej, married women worship their husbands as deities and get the first bite of food and the first sip of water from their husbands after a strict fast. For blessings, they bowed before their husband’s feet.

When celebrating Teej, why do women dress in red?

In Nepal, married women wear red exclusively. Although everyone can wear red whenever they wish, red has special significance in Nepali tradition and culture. For married ladies, red is regarded as a “Shubha” or lucky hue. A married woman typically dons red, whether it is a tika, a bangle, or clothing after marriage. As a result, they dress in red during Teej to resemble brides. Women are eager to purchase new clothing and accessories to wear during Teej. Red, green, and yellow are occasionally combined to enhance their beauty.

Teej at the Pashupatinath Temple

The well-known Hindu Temple of Pashupatinath, which is devoted to Lord Shiva, is a significant Hindu holy monument. According to popular belief, Shiva (the Hindu God), also known as the God of Gods and the one who possesses the power of both creation and destruction, is the most potent deity. Pashupati is the animal form of Lord Shiva, according to Hindu mythology. People visit Pashupatinath Temple to worship Lord Shiva and to pray for the wellbeing of their families because Teej is all about Mahadev Shiva and Devi Parvati. During the Teej festival, more than 500,000 Nepali women go to Pashupatinath Temple. To please Lord Shiva, people travel from all over the Indian subcontinent to Pashupatinath.

Types of Teej Festival

Different varieties of Teej are celebrated differently from one another. They are Kajari, Haritalika, and Hariyali Teej.

Haritalika Teej:

The festival of Haritalika Teej honors the goddess Parvati. The word “Haritalika” is a mix of the words “harit” and “aalika,” which respectively indicate “abduction” and “female friend.” According to tradition, Goddess Parvati took on the form of Himavat, a ruler of the Himalayas. At Narad’s advice, King Himavat pledged to wed his daughter to Lord Vishnu. Goddess Parvati disagreed with her father’s choice, and after telling a friend about it, the friend led Goddess Parvati into a deep forest so that King Himavat couldn’t find her and force her to wed Lord Vishnu against her will. After that, Goddess Parvati prayed to Lord Shiva while creating a Shiva lingam out of her hair. Lord Shiva was moved by her love and devotion to him, and with her father’s approval, they were eventually wedded. Since then, Haritailka Teej has been observed since Goddess Parvati’s female friend (aalika) had to kidnap (harit) her in order for her to wed the man she intended to marry. The same Haritalika Teej custom is followed by female Nepalis.

Hariyali Teej:

During the monsoon or rainy season, when the surroundings are lush, Hariyali Teej is observed. “Green Teej” is what Hariyali Teej is. This day is commemorated as the day Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were reunited and accepted Parvati as his wife. When women observe Hariyali Teej, they observe a fast during which they concentrate on the moon. States like Rajasthan and Punjab in India practice it.

Kajari Teej:

Boorhi Teej/Kajali Teej is another name for Kajari Teej. Women perform kajris, or folk melodies, while they dance, sing, and pray to Lord Shiva. The songs’ lyrics discuss the suffering that women experience when they are sent away from their parents’ home to celebrate Teej or about the hope that they have been holding onto to be picked up by their brothers to celebrate Teej. This Teej, women celebrate without eating or drinking. They eat sattu to break their fast and pray to the moon (flour with amixture of cereals and ground pulses). Kajari Teej shares some similarities with the Nepali festival of Teej. Nepali parents or brothers have a tradition of calling or collecting their married daughter or sister on Dar Khane Din (Feast Day) to celebrate her day.

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