June 13, 2024, Thursday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

Teej, festival of Hindu women wishing wellbeing of husband and families

The Nepal Weekly
September 12, 2023

Teej is the fasting festival of women in Nepal. Full form of Teej is HartalikaTeej. It usually takes place in Nepali Bhadra month (August or September but according to Lunar calendar) and lasts for three days. This year Teej falls on September 18,30 and September 20.

Nepali Teej Festival is the first grand festival coming at the end of the rainy season. At that time, the sky is clear and sunshine is cozy.  In the ways to temple of Lord Shiva, devotees can be seen singing and dancing.

Teej Puja is particularly held at Pashupatinath Temple and other temples of Lord Shiva. During Teej festival, Nepalese women dress up in their beautiful red saris, fast to honour Lord Shiva and pray for a happy life ahead with husband and family. They particularly wish for the wellbeing of the husband.

It’s a festival for Nepali Hindu women, which is also celebrated in some part of India. In order to protect the traditional culture, the government of Nepal has made Teej Festival as a national holiday for women.

A story says that long time ago, the king of Himalaya had a beautiful 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 and revealed his identity. At last, Parvati realized her dream and married Shiva. Owing to her friends’ help, Parvati could get rid of the arranged marriage. She was very grateful to them and held a party to celebrate this happy ending. This is the origin of Teej Festival.

A day earlier, women celebrating Teej go to the market for large purchases. When the night falls, they’ll make a hearty meal and prepare tasty foods and sweets. Close friends and family members gather to perform traditional dances and sing devotional songs. Those celebrations continue till the midnight.

All devotees take fast day of Teej festival. After having a bath, women wear gold and silver jewellery and dress in their red saris. Then they head in groups to Shiva temples nearby and offer flowers and fruits to Lord Shiva. One of the most important things is to make a wish for the healthy life of their husbands and families. The unmarried girls also follow Teej rituals to pray for a good husband and happy life in future.

What’s interesting is that on this day of the festival, all Hindu women are not allowed to eat anything from morning till evening. They must fast for the whole day. Pious women believe that it’ll bring the good fortune for their husbands. And for them, the family is everything. Surprisingly, under the fasting condition, Nepalese women don’t feel tired after a one-day prayer. Their devoting with faith and strong wishes for a better life is amazing.

The third day is known as Rishi Panchami. After paying homage to seven saints, Nepali women take bathe with red mud found on the roots of the sacred datiwan bush, along with its leaves. This symbolic bath will absolve them of all sins. Then they go to worship the god Ganesh, so that their wishes made in the previous day can be achieved. On this day, women can enjoy a sumptuous meal. Many dishes are unique to this festival, such as a special bean soup, exotic mutton soup and desserts made of carrots.