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Teej festival in Nepal – “the festival especially for Hindu women.”

Teej Festival

About the Teej festival

Nepal is a culturally rich country and celebrates lots of festivals with joy and in a vibrant way. As Nepal is a multi-ethnic country, each festival is celebrated uniquely and joyously. Nepal is a land of festival and offers different festivals with its unique features. Among them, Teej is one of the famous Hindu festival celebrated by Nepalese women.

Teej festival occurs around the month of in Nepali Bhadra (August to early September in solar calendar). This festival is also known as Haritalika Teej and lasts for three days. During this festival, Hindu women are decorated in red saree, tika, bangles, women sing and dance in traditional folk songs. All women in Nepal celebrate Teej. This festival is also known as fasting. During the festival, married women fast praying the longer of her husband and for a happy relationship in a family, whereas unmarried girls fast wishing for a decent and kind husband like” Lord shiva” in the Future. This festival is also known as the festival to celebrate happiness among their close ones. Married women are specially invited to their maternal house by their brothers.

Nepali women celebrate this festival without eating anything, not a drop of water throughout the whole day.
Teej is celebrated in Nepal in the name of Goddess Parvati, for the remembrance of her union with Lord Shiva.
Teej is a major festival celebrated by Hindu women. The word “Teej” comes from a small red insect that appears during the period of the monsoon season. Thus, the festival Teej is named after the particular insect “Teej.”
Haritalika Teej is celebrated by women only.

Haritalika Teej falls on the third day of a full moon in the Hindu month of Bhadra. It is fascinating to watch women of all age groups, old and young, dance for hours under the hot sun, without eating food and a single drop of water. Not only this, during these days they visit shiva mandir staying in line for long hours praying the conjugal life of her husband and their children. This shows the bravery of Nepalese women.

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teej festival

Importance of Teej

The festival Teej is dedicated to Goddess Parvati due to the historical myth that on this day, she was reunited with Lord Shiva. As the festival is also called as the fasting festival, women of different ages fast for the well-being of husband, children, and happiness of the entire family by the married women while unmarried women fast to get a decent husband as like lord Shiva in their upcoming future.

Not only this, this festival increases the sisterhood among women and shares happiness and love with each other. Nepali women celebrate Teej as a way to be united and having fun with their close ones. Besides, celebrating Teej has also become a way to bring women together of different classes and celebrate happily. It is said that the ultimate sacrifice of women on the day of fasting makes her marriage life successful.

As per the Hindu myth, Lord Shiva accepts Goddess Parvati as his wife on her 108th birth, which indicates that Goddess Parvati had to take delivery for 108th times. And also, she keeps unsparing fast in all her life to please lord shiva for being granted by the wish of being Shiva’s wife by Lord Shiva Himself.
This is the reason Goddess Parvati is known as “Teej Mata,” meaning “Goddess of Teej.”

 Celebration of Teej

Teej is usually a three-day festival with vibrant energy. During this time women are decorated with red saree, bangles and sing traditional Teej songs and dance in the street enjoying a lot. Teej is also celebrated in India but in different ways. The first day of Teej is known as “dar day,” where all the married women are specially invited to their maternal house, or they are pick-up from their home to celebrate this joyous moment and served lots of delicious food. The nest day is the fasting day, and the last day of Teej is known as Rishi Panchami day. Teej has been able to gain popularity since the day it was started.

It is intriguing to watch all ladies decked in red clothes, gathering, old and youth, sustaining the entire day without a single drop of water not caring about hot sun, downpour.

Let us describe the Three days of Teej celebration  in detail:

teej festival

First Day: The Feast Day

“DAR KHANE DIN”/feast day is the name given to the first day of Teej. In this eve (dar khane din), all the relatives, acquaintances, siblings, wedded as well as unmarried girls are gathered at one spot and celebrate these days with singing, dancing, and having delicious food. In this, women are decked in elegant dress and jewelry or any best outfits of red and share their happiness.
That night they sing Nepalese folk songs and Dohori songs with loud tunes and dance, forgetting all the stress of life that increases the sisterhood among them.

The elegant dress shows women like a princess. The dining experience of this night is excellent and enjoyable with an amazing blowout called “dar.”
It is so-called as the women taking fast the next day feed themselves with an enormous amount of food called “Daro khana” in Nepali.” Daro khana” means substantial nourishment. That is why the name dar was evolved. On that day, women eat till noon after that; they will have fasting for continuous 24 hr. They get invited to their parent’s house and celebrate happiness.

The women decorate themselves in Sorhasingaar, dressing up with elegant clothes and using heavy makeup along with dazzling jewelry.
They sing devotional Teej songs and start dancing in the cultural tune. They are served with a grand feast party with a variety of foods, desserts, and beverages. They will have desserts, Nepali food like kheer, sel roti, and other non-veg products such as mutton, chicken, etc. based on their choices.

On this day, women express their freedom that works and dedicate her all time to her husband and family for the entire life. This is the day of women, so they enjoy their time with their closed ones, friends, family, relatives, and eats delightful dishes. The traditional Teej songs are made for women by depicting their pain in their daily lives and the struggle they have done throughout their lifetime. The feast and celebration go till midnight and after that fast start for 24 hrs.

teej festival
Second Day: The Fasting Day

 

The second day of the Teej festival is the first day called a fasting day. The women take a very firm and strict fast without drinking a drop of water also. It is believed that Goddess Parvati has done the same for being grated as a Shiva’s wife. On these days, women took an early morning bath and wear an elegant dress with jewelry and do full makeup and go to visit the holy temple of lord shiva to make her wish fulfilled. Some women will have fruit and liquid after worshiping Lord shiva while others keep their fast throughout the day without food and even a drop of water.

On this day too, women wear their best attire, especially the red sari, and visit the nearby Shiva temple, where they offer their praying with flowers, fruits, sweets, and coins. After that, they join in the singing and dancing with other women. The majority of people visit Pashupatinath temple on this day. While to avoid crowds, many people visit their nearest lord Shiva temple. Unmarried women keep fast with a wish to get a good husband and a happily married life in the future. On this day, wedded women cheerfully dress in red sari and lehenga, along with their Lagan Ko Pote, Nathhi, other adornments, and Chhadke Tilahari (which are considered most essential for married women) and visit a close-by Lord Shiva’s sanctuary singing and moving the whole distance.

Married women keep this fast, keeping themselves away from food and drinks with the belief that their devotion to the god will be blessed with long life, peace, and prosperity of the husband and whole family. It is in the hope that the light of an oil lamp all night will bring and peace and prosperity for the entire family.

According to traditional belief, the women break their fasting after worshiping their husband at night. It is also said that they used to drink leg water “Khutta doko pain” of their husbands and fed by their husbands. But nowadays, this trend is not followed by many people. Some women eat fruits, drink water, and milk only at this day in the wish of completing her Teej Barta only after attending “Panchamipuja.”

Third-Day: Rishi Panchami

The final day of the Teej festival is known as Rishi Panchami, which is dedicated to Saptarishis (seven sages). Women worship seven sages after completing the puja of the previous fasting day.
On the early morning before the rise of the sun, they take bathe with leaves and red mud found on the roots of sacred Datiwan (holy tree) bush and pray for the deities. Also, they brush their teeth with Datiwan (branches of a bush tree), hoping this purifies their body and soul.

This day is significant as it is believed that taking a bath with all ritual acts as a way of purification that discharges women for their sins. This day is also known as the day to seek forgiveness.
Both married and unmarried Hindu women and girls who have experienced their first menstruation cycle should attend Rishi Panchami. On this day, also women take fast until they complete their rishi Panchami puja. The fasting on this day is kept by Hindu women and girls to ask forgiveness from the seven saints for any mistakes they have done knowingly or unknowingly during the time of their menstruation.

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Conclusion:

We all know that about 51% of the total population of Nepal is women. Thus, Nepal governments declare the public for women on this day to celebrate this festival. Hence, it is one of the biggest celebrations in Nepal. Women ask for special blessings by Lord Shiva, to have a decent husband and pay for his longevity and prosperity.

However, in these recent years, this festival has influenced many Nepali women scattered all over the world. Due to the recent digitalization, the show-off trend is increasing in the festive period. As rich women show-off, their luxurious ornaments and posting the picture in social media is becoming the most significant reason to celebrate the festival.

Not only this, traditional Teej songs are being replaced by new westernized music. If the trends go this way, the day is not so far, our traditional culture will vanish. This is a way of being Nepali we should respect our culture and festival that was handed by our ancestor with full of responsibility.

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