Teej refers to the monsoon fairs, observed especially in western and northerly states of India and Nepal. The fairs have fun the bounty of nature, arrival of clouds and rain, greenery and birds with social activity, rituals and customs. Teej generally celebrated in the month of Bhadra every year.
The gala’s for ladies, consist of dancing, singing, getting collectively with buddies and telling memories, dressing up with henna-colored palms and feet, wearing red, inexperienced or orange clothes, sharing festive ingredients, and playing underneath bushes on swings on Haryali Teej.
History of Teej
According to Hindu mythology of Bratakatha, Devi Parvati ran away from her home with her friends to jungle as she was afraid that her father Himalaya promised to Vishnu to give his daughter Parvati in marriage. She then went to jungle and started praying Shiva to fulfil her wish to marry him.
He said “tathastu” meaning he will fulfil her wish. That was the day of Teej when Parvati got her husband as her undying wish. So this day is celebrated to get the husband of their dream by unmarried women and for long, healthy and prosperous life of husband by married women.
Types of Teej
Teej fairs are traditionally observed through girls to have fun the monsoons at some point of the months of Shravan and Bhadra according to Hindu calendar. Girls frequently pray to Parvati and Shiva at some stage in Teej.
Observance of Teej
Dedicated to Parvati, commemorating her union with Shiva, the festival is celebrated for well-being of spouse and children and purification of one’s body and soul. The festival is a two-day-long celebration that combines sumptuous feasts as well as rigid fasting. Teej (also romanised Tij) is celebrated by women, for the long life of her husband and long and firm relationship between them in this life and all the lives to come.
It is particularly celebrated by women from various castes of Nepalese society, particularly the Bahun, Chettri, Magars, Kiratis and others, on the second day after the new moon of the month of Bhadra (mid-August to mid-September).
The first day of Teej is called Dar Khane Din. On this day the women assemble at one place in their finest attire and start dancing and singing devotional songs. That is the day for them to embellish themselves in sorha singaar — dressing up and using make up to the full extent, indulge in good food, and dance. Oftentimes, because women are invited by multiple brothers for the feast, they try to dance off some food before they are ready to eat more. The food served is supposed to be rich and abundant.
This is probably the only day in a year that allows women full freedom of expression. Consequently, women have traditionally used this occasion to express their pains and pang in the songs they sing while dancing. With the advancement of communication and awareness, women these days use this occasion to voice their concerns about social issues and discrimination against women. The jollity often goes on till midnight.
The day is the day of fasting. Some women don’t eat or drink food and water while others drink liquids and eat fruit. The fasting is observed by married and unmarried women. Married women abstain strictly from food and drinks with a belief that their devotion to the gods will be blessed with longevity, peace and prosperity of their husband and family. Unmarried women observe the fast with a hope of being blessed with a good husband.
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 temple, women circumambulate the shiva lingam, which symbolizes Shiva, offers the praying with flosweets,sweets and coins.
The main puja (religious ceremony) takes place with offerings of flowers, fruits, etc., made to Shiva and his wife Parvati, beseeching them 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. It is believed that by the light of an oil lamp all night will bring peace and prosperity to the husband and family.
After the completion of the previous day’s puja, women pay homage to seven saints or sages, offer prayers to deities, and bathe with red mud found on the roots of the sacred datiwan bush, along with its leaves and finally they eat the Bhat, Dal, Tarkari, Papad, Taruwa and All after 24 hrs of fasting.
The Rishi Panchami revolves around the purity of women. It is a time when women cleans themselves of the possible “sin of touching a man during menstruation.” During this festival, which occurs two days after the Teej, the women participate in ritual baths and puja (worship). One of the defining characteristics of the Teej Festival is the songs the women sing.
Traditionally, these songs emphasized the subservient role of women in Nepalese society in addition to reinforcing traditional Hindu ideology of gender relations. Within the past few decades, as Nepal and the surrounding area experiences rapid development and modernization, the Teej songs have become more of a critical commentary on gender relations from women’s perspectives.