TEEJ HINDU WOMEN FESTIVAL – Reunion of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati


WhoIsWhoNepal Team would like to wish you all : HAPPY TEEJ 2019.

Hindu Nepalese Women Celebrating Teej at Pashupati Nath Temple
WHAT IS TEEJ FESTIVAL?

Teej is a small red insect that comes out of the soil during the rainy season. The name of this festival “Teej” is believed to have come from this small red insect, which only appears in the earth during the period of the monsoon season. That is why Teej is celebrated in red. 
Teej is dedicated to the Goddess Parvati for her union with Lord Shiva. Teej is celebrated by Nepali women, as well as girls without eating anything or even drinking water. Married women fast for the long life of her husband and for a happy relationship in the family. Whereas, girls  fast to get a decent and kind husband, just like “Lord Shiva.” It is the most popular festival among the Nepali woman.

WHY IS TEEJ FESTIVAL CELEBRATED?

Teej in Nepal is dedicated to the Goddess Parvati, marking her union with Lord Shiva. Teej is celebrated for the well-being of husband, children, and the whole family. Nowadays, Nepali women celebrate this festival as a way to be united and having fun while praying for the well-being of the husband and the entire family. It has also become a way to bring women together of different class and celebrate the festival as one. The celebration of Teej implies the ultimate sacrifice a woman makes for her husband.
As per the legend of Hindu, Goddess Parvati was accepted by Lord Shiva as his wife in her 108th birth, which means Goddess Parvati had to take birth for 108 times and keep unsparing fast in all her life live before being granted by the wish of being Shiva’s wife by Lord Shiva himself. That is why, Goddess Parvati is also known as “Teej Mata,” meaning “Goddess of Teej.”

HOW IS TEEJ FESTIVAL CELEBRATED?

In Nepal, Teej is a three-day festival. However, Teej is celebrated in different ways and in different ways in other countries like India. Teej is a vibrant festival that has been more popular since the start of this festival, however, in these recent years, this festival has influenced many Nepali women residing all over the world. Women in red attire sing and dance in the street, going to temple in the holy and fasting mood. Let us look at the three days of Teej in Nepal.

First Day: The Feast Day
The eve (first day of Teej) is called Dar Khane Din. On this day all the family members especially the women, both married and unmarried gather at one place, in their finest outfits of red (called Saubhagya) and start dancing and singing devotional songs mixed with Nepali folk and Dohori songs. This evening the grand feast takes place. The grand feast is called “Dar”. The fun often goes on till midnight, after midnight the 24-hour fasting starts.
What is DAR :
Women who go in fasting the very next day eat a very big feast….”daro khana” (दर्हो खाना) that means a heavy food in Nepali….it is said daro khane became dar.

Dar in Nepal

Second Day: The Fasting Day
Second day is the main day of Teej (the fasting day). Some women take it very rigid, they even live without a piece of food and drops of water while some others take liquid and fruit. On this day, they happily dress in red, married women wear their lagan ko pote, nathhi, other jewelries and chadke tilahari ( jewelries are optional but chadke tilahari, laganko pote and natthi is said to be most important) and visit a nearby Lord Shiva’s temple singing and dancing all the way.
Most of devotees in Kathmandu go to Pashupatinath Temple. At the Shiva temple, women worship the Shiva lingam, the symbol of the lord Shiva, offering flowers, sweets and coins. The main puja (religious ceremony) takes place with offerings of flowers, fruits, etc., made to Shiva and Pārbati, pleading them to grant their blessing upon the husband and family. The most important part of the pooja is mostly done in the evening burning the oil lamp (108 sute batti in a diyo) which should be burning throughout the night. It is a tradition of giving the diyo of teej by her mother in law to the married woman.

Third Day: Rishi Panchami
The last day of Teej is Rishi Panchami. This day is dedicated to the Sapta Rishis (seven sages). After completing the puja of the previous day, women worship seven sages. They offer their prayer to the deities and take bathe with red mud found on the roots of the sacred datiwan (holy tree) bush, along with its leaves. The bath ritual is very important in this day as it is believed that this final ritual of Teej is an act of purification which discharges women for their sins.
Women get up early in the dawn and get cleaned and do the puja once again to the diyo and goddess Parvati. The most important part of this puja is a banana and holy basil (Tulsi patta) leaf. Only after this puja, women take solid food. This third day of Teej is Ganesh Chaturthati. Women eat Karkalo ko Tarkari with chokho (pure) food made with pure ghee. 

Hindu women performing rituals on occasion of Rishi panchami festival
WHEN IS TEEJ FESTIVAL CELEBRATED?
  • Teej is celebrated on 3rd day of Bhadra Sukala Paksha (according to Nepali lunar calendar). It generally falls in late August or early September
  • Teej is traditionally dedicated to the Goddess Parvati,   remembering her union with Lord Shiva. It is a three-day-long celebration that combines splendid feasts as well as rigid fasting. 
  • Teej also welcomes and celebrates arrival of monsoon after a season of summer heat.
WHAT ARE TYPES OF TEEJ FESTIVAL?

Teej can be observed in different ways in a different country. Teej means “third” day that falls every month after the new moon and the third day after the full moon night of every month.

Hariyali Teej
Hariyali Teej is celebrated to remember the reunion of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, the day when Lord Shiva accepted Parvati as his wife. It is believed that Lord Shiva accepted Parvati after many austere and fasting in her 108 birth. That is why Goddess Parvati is also called as Teej Mata.

Kajati Teej
Kajari Teej is celebrated by singing folk songs which are known as kauris. The lyrics of the song focus on separation expressing the pain of women for her beloved parents’ home, where she has been sent to celebrate Teej or waiting in hope to be called by her brothers to celebrate Teej. This Teej is also known as Kakali Teej. Women who observe this Teejkept fast without any food or water and broke the fast by eating sattu (flour consisting mixture of ground pulses and cereals). This Teej also involves praying the moon. This Teej is somewhat similar to the Teej of Nepal, where women are collected by her parents or brothers to have a feast in Dar Khane Din.

Haritalika Teej
The word “Haritalika” is comprised of two words “harit” and “aalika”,  “harit” means “abduction” and “aalika” means “female friend.” Haritalika Teej is celebrated as a remembrance to the Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva union. As per stories, Goddess Parvati’s father made a promise to marry her with Lord Vishu against her wish. Parvati told this to her friend, and she took Parvati to a thick forest where Parvati’s father couldn’t find her, and she won’t have to marry Lord Vishnu. Goddess Parvati prayed to Lord Shiva by making a Shiva lingam from her hair. Impressed by her devotion towards him, Lord Shiva married Parvati and since then the day is referred as Haritalika Teej as Goddess Parvati’s friend (aalika) abducted (harit) her so she could achieve her goal of marrying Lord Shiva. The Teej which is practiced in Nepal is Haritalika Teej.

REFERENCES

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teej
[2] https://www.nepalsanctuarytreks.com/teej-festival/
[3] http://www.weallnepali.com/nepali-festivals/teej
[4] https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/hartalika-teej-2019-how-and-why-this-festival-is-celebrated-2094174

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