Teej (तीज) is a fasting festival for Hindu women. It is mainly celebrated in Rajasthan, Bihar and Haryana in (India) and in Nepal and is considered as the most standard form of teej. It is also celebrated in some states of India but has almost vanished nowadays.
It takes place on the third day of Shukla Paksha (bright moon fortnight) of the Shraavana or Saawan month of Hindu calendar that normally falls from late July to early September. Dedicated to the Goddess Parvati, commemorating her union with Lord Shiva, the festival is celebrated for marital bliss, 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.
Falling on the Hindu month of Bhadrapada or Bhado (August/September), it also celebrates the arrival of monsoon after a season of oppressive heat. "Teej" is a small red insect that comes out of the soil during rains.
Teej in Nepal 
The first day of Teej is called Dar Khane Din. On this day the women,married and unmarried, mainly of 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 till midnight, after which the 24hour 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 gaily dress 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 circumambulate the Shiva Linga, the symbol of the lord, offering flowers, sweets and coins. The main puja (religious ceremony) takes place with offerings of flowers, fruits, etc., made to Shiva and 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.
The third day of the festival is Rishi Panchami. After the completion of the previous day's puja, women pay homage to various deities and bathe with red mud found on the roots of the sacred datiwan bush, along with its leaves. This act of purification is the final ritual of Teej, after which women are considered absolved from all their sins. The recent years have witnessed an alteration in the rituals, especially concerning the severity, but its essence remains the same.
Teej is celebrated just before the first day of Ganesh Chaturthi. Women do 24-hour nirjala fasting (without water or fruit) for the wellness of their spouse and their married life and unmarried would be praying to get a nice husband.
Teej in Haryana 
Haryali Teej or Teej is one of the famous festivals of Haryana specially with Ahir and Jat community and is celebrated officially. Many official functions are organised by Haryana Govt. to celebrate this festival. This festival is celebrated to welcome the rainy season.It falls on the third day of 'Shrwana' month. Boys also fly the Kites from morning to evening. The sky seems full of thousands of colorfull and different design kites flowing in every direction. This tradition is losing its charm in big cities due to high rise buildings and lack of terrace space. In some other parts of India, Kites are flown every year mainly on festivals such as Makar Sankranti or Independence Day. Swings are set up in the open courtyards and Teej gets the first swing of the season. Girls apply henna on their hands and feet and are excused from household chores on this day. On Teej, it is a must for the girls to receive new clothes from their parents. The system of giving new clothes on all occasions to a daughter (and her children) was in lieu of her right to the family property and money, which was, earlier denied to her by law. On Teej, just as on Karva Chouth, the mother sends a baya or gift. The pooja is performed in the morning. The baya which consists of a variety of foodstuff, is placed on a thaali at the place of worship where a chowk (square) has been decorated, an idol or a picture of Parvati is installed. The evenings are set aside for singing and dancing.They were specially praying their husband's long life & their families.
Teej in Jaipur 
Teej is the festival of swings. It marks the advent of the monsoon month of Shravan (August). The monsoon rains fall on the parched land and the pleasing scent of the wet soil rises into the air. Swings are hung from trees and women dressed in green clothes sing songs in celebration of the advent of the monsoon. This festival is dedicated to the Goddess Parvati, commemorating her union with Lord Shiva. Goddess Parvati is worshipped by seekers of conjugal bliss and happiness. An elaborate procession is taken out in Jaipur for two consecutive days on the festive occasion which is watched by people in large numbers. The Teej idol is covered with a canopy whereas the Gangaur idol is open. The traditional Ghevar sweet is also associated with the festival.
Teej in Chandigarh 
Chandigarh administration makes special arrangements for Teej celebration in Rock garden in the city. School children present plays and other cultural programs on this day. The female members of family especially daughters are given gifts and dresses.
Teej in India's other states 
Traditionally Teej is celebrated mainly in Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, & Bihar (Hartalika Teej Vrat) in different forms. However, now it is also observed in Delhi, NCR and Madhya Pradesh.
On this day Goddess Parvati is worshiped. A day before this festival is celebrated as Sinjara wherein girls/ladies put on mehandi on their hands and eat ghewaand taken in a procession in the streets accompanied by singing, music, and dancing.
Teej Amongst the Baniya Community 
Teej is an important festival amongst the baniya and marwari community. In this area women are also given bangles and bindis. Swings are also put on trees for the entertainment of young girls. Unlike the other states and communities amongst the baniyas and marwaris, the festival is meant as a celebration for women especially young girls. Girls of the house are given new clothes. A special and fun lunch is organized by the women of the house for the women in the house. It is the traditional women's day of the community. It is customary for mothers-in-law to give the newly married daughter-in-law a piece of jewellery on her first teej after marriage.
Traditionally, daughters-in-law would go to their mothers house for teej and come back after Rakhi, in this way they would spend about 10 days of the summer with their parents. It is customary that when a daughter goes to her parents house, she takes sweet and salty savouries with her.
Daughters spend teej with their parents and after they come back they spend Buddhi Teej which is teej for the daughters-in-law in their marital home. Buddhi Teej normally falls within a week after Rakhi.
See also 
- "Teej festival procession attracts foreign tourists to Jaipur". Sify News. 2010-08-13.
- Dalmia, Himani (Aug 13, 2008). "Teej celebrates the spirit of Parvati - Speaking Tree". The Times of India.
- Verma, Manish (2000). Fasts and festivals of India. Diamond Pocket Books. p. 32. ISBN 81-7182-076-X.
- Sharma, Poonam (Aug 13, 2010). "Traditional Teej at Rock Garden, Chandigarh". The Times of India.
- Hartalika Teej