Teej, Nepalese Women’s Day – Why, How, When?
It is the time of the year which makes the Nepalese mothers and sisters dance to the tunes of Teej songs. Ladies all around Nepal celebrate this festival with much enthusiasm and excitement. The ecstatic feeling of celebration makes up for all the pain that a woman has to go through.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Teej is a festival mainly celebrated by Nepali women, for the long life of her husband and a long and firm relationship between them until the death. Teej is observed for marital happiness, the well-being of spouse and children and purification of own body and soul. Teej is the most famous festival among Nepali women.
The folk music and dances add more flavour to traditional values of Teej. It is fascinating to see women, in “Red”, dancing and singing on the street and going to temple in the holy and fasting mood. Teej is also called Haritalika Teej, a festival is celebrated by Nepali Hindu women all around the world.
Teej is also 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.
The festival is dedicated to the Goddess Parvati, commemorating her union with Lord Shiva, the festival is celebrated for marital bliss, the well-being of spouse and children and purification of own body and soul. The festival is a three-day-long celebration that combines sumptuous feasts as well as rigid fasting. Teej is a fasting festival for Hindu women. It is mainly celebrated in Nepal and some parts of India and is considered the most standard form of Teej. It is also celebrated in some states of India but has almost lost its existence nowadays.
How it came into existence?
A long time ago, the king of Himalaya had a daughter named Parvati, who was very intelligent and deeply admired the Hindu God of Destruction and Creation, Shiva. But the king decided to marry Parvati to the wealthy Vishnu. With the assistance of her friends, Parvati successfully escaped from the house and hid in the thick forest. From then on, she led an ascetic life.
Upon hearing this, Shiva was so surprised and decided to test her sincerity. He disguised as the rich Vishnu and rode a gorgeous carriage to see Parvati, trying to lure her to marry him. However, Parvati still remained unmoved. Shiva was so impressed by her determination & finally revealed his identity. At last, Parvati realized her dream and married Shiva. The happy unification of Lord Shiva and Parvati gave birth to the celebration of Teej Festival.
When is it celebrated?
Teej is celebrated just before the first day of Ganesh Chaturthi. Falling on the Hindu month of Bhadrapada or Bhadra (August/September), it also celebrates the arrival of monsoon after a season of oppressive heat.
Women do 24-hour “Nirjala Fasting” (without water or fruit) for the wellness of their special One. The first day of Teej is called “Dar Khane Din”. On this day the women, both married and unmarried, mainly of the Khas ethnicity, assemble at one place, in their finest attire and start dancing and singing devotional songs. Amidst all this, the grand feast takes place. The jollity often goes on until midnight, after which the 24-hour fast starts.
The second day is the fasting day. Some women live without a morsel of food and drops of water while others take liquid and fruit. On this day, they dress gaily and visit a nearby Shiva temple singing and dancing on the way. The Pashupatinath Temple gets the highest number of devotees.
At the Shiva temple, women make rounds of the Shiva Linga, the symbol of the lord, offering flowers, sweets and coins. Women worship the eternal couple to grant their blessing upon the husband and family. The important part of the puja is the oil lamp which should be alight throughout the night.