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Did you know Teej?
Teej is a small red insect that comes out of the soil during the rainy season. It is said Teej got its name from the same red insect. That is why Teej is celebrated in red.
Teej is one of the biggest festivals of Nepal that are celebrated by all Nepali Hindu women across the world which is also named ‘Hartalika Teej’. It is largely celebrated by girls and women during the monsoon season, with music, dancing, henna-coloured hands, and feet, red, green, or yellow clothing, jewellery, and other activities.
Teej is dedicated to goddess Parvati and her reunion with Lord Shiva along with the flourish of nature during the monsoon. Parvati is also known as Teej Mata. The invocation of Parvati’s blessing during the festival is believed to bring continuous marital bliss.
This festival is observed for the well-being of one’s spouse and children, as well as for the purification of one’s body and soul. This event consists of a three-day celebration that includes lavish feasts as well as strict fasting. It is commemorated for her husband’s long life as well as their long-term partnership, both now and in the future. The folk music, dances and women with red clothes add more flavour to the traditional values of Teej. Many Nepali Hindu women sing and dance in the streets, as well as attend temples while fasting.
How is Teej Festival celebrated?
The first day of Teej is called ‘Dar Khane Din’. On this day, women gather at one place in their finest attire and start dancing and singing. This is the day for them to assemble themselves in sorha singhaar, dressing up and using makeup. The food served on that day seems to be abundant and rich. This is also a day of full freedom of expression in the whole year. The jollity often goes till midnight after which 24 hrs fast starts.
The second day is known as fasting day. Some women go without food and drink, while others consume liquids and fruits. All married women think that their husbands and families will be blessed with long life, prosperity, and tranquillity. Unmarried ladies fast in the hopes of being blessed with a good husband. They perform special Puja at the end of their fasting where they put Abir, Keshari, incense and other materials in their special Puja Thali Set and pray to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
The third day, also known as ‘Rishi Panchami,’ marks the end of the teej festivities. Women pay tribute to seven saints or sages at the end of the fasting day, bathe in red mud made from the sacred datiwan bush’s roots and leaves and pray to the gods. After the act of purification, women are considered absolved from all their sins.
When is Teej 2021?
This year’s Teej Festival is on 9th September 2021.
The month of Shrawan holds immense significance for Hindu devotees. Celebrations begin from the first day of the month, commonly known as “Shrawan Sankranti “. On this day, Hindu devotees throng the Shiva temples and offer special pujas. Shiva Abhishekam (Jalabhishekam) is the main ritual on this day.
How is it celebrated?
According to Nepalese tradition, Shrawan is the month of cleaning and removing dirty things. Nepalese worship and beat Nanglo (large bamboo plates) to remove certain types of diseases such as eczema. Observing Mangala Gauri fast and worshipping ritually on every Monday of this month is thought to make the prospects of marriage and child of a woman more fortuitous.
Lord Shiva, to whom flowers and other fragrant offerings are presented, is said to answer the prayers of those who fast on all Mondays throughout this month. According to scientific studies, this month falls around the peak of the monsoon season, when there is less sunshine, weakening the digestive system— therefore fasting at least once a week can help you stay healthy.
Women light butter lamps and incense, clad in beautiful red, yellow and green clothing. Women generally pair their bangles with the colour of their dresses, but during the month of Shrawan women wear green, red, and yellow bangles. Married women prefer wearing green and yellow along with red but the unmarried one’s pair green and yellow. Red is the colour associated with husband and it is also considered as one of the symbols of shaubhagya. Therefore, married women are supposed to wear red, while unmarried women are seen wearing green and yellow bangles. Wearing yellow and green bangles throughout the month is auspicious and everyone is seen flaunting decorative henna tattoos on their palms and heels which has its own natural benefits to the body. Hindu women across the country celebrate womanhood in full swing during Shrawan. Unmarried girls pray for better companions, whereas married ladies dress up for their husbands’ adoration.
Both Shrawan and Teej festivals are very important to women. The transition of modern women from celebrating such festivals just for the sake of their husband’s health to now celebrating it to cherish one’s own life as a woman and have fun has been one big change in a time span of a decade. Confidence, strength, and empowerment are what such festivals should signify.