Women dancing during Teej festival
|Also called||Festival of Greenery|
|Observed by||Hindu women|
|Type||Spring festival of goddess Parvathi|
Teej (Nepali: तीज) is a festival celebrated in Nepal and northern India. Traditionally observed by women for the wellness of their husband, this festival these day symbolizes a forum for women's freedom of expressions.
Literally, "teej" means "third". Therefore Teej falls on the third day after the moonless night (Amavasya) and the third day after the full moon night of every month. However, the third day after the new moon or Amavasya of Shraavana (श्रावण) month is the most important Teej. As Shraavana (or Saawan) month falls during monsoon or rainy season when the surroundings become green, the Shraavana Teej is also called Hariyali Teej (Green Teej).
Teej is celebrated in Nepal It falls on the third day after the new moon of the Shraawana or Sraawan month of Hindu calendar in late July to early August. Dedicated to the Goddess Parvati, commemorating her union with Lord Shiva, the festival is celebrated for sexual 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.
Observance in Nepal
The first day of Teej is called Dar Khane Din. On this day the women,married and unmarried, mainly Khas Gorkha of Nepalis ethnicity mainly Bahun and Chhetri cast, assemble at one place, in their finest attire and start dancing and singing devotional songs. Amidst all this, the grand feast takes place. What is unusual about this day is that the feast is hosted by gentlemen. Women, who work hard throughout the year, do not have to do anything that day. That is the day for them to embellish themselves in sorha singaar meaning dressing up and make up to the full extent, indulge in good food, and dance. Often times, 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 that day 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 lyrics of 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, 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. The fasting is observed by both married and unmarried women. Married women abstain strictly from food and drinks with a believe that their devotion to the god will be blessed with longevity, peace and prosperity of their husband and family. Whereas, unmarried women observe the fasting with a hope of being blessed with good husband in future. 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 Lingam, which symbolizes Lord Shiva, offers the praying with flowers, sweets and coins. The main puja (religious ceremony) takes place with offerings of flowers, fruits, etc., made to Shiva and his wife goddess 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 lightening of oil lamp all night long will bring peace and prosperity to the husband and entire family.
The third day of the festival is Rishi Panchami. After the completion of the previous day's poooja, women pay homage to seven saints or sages and offer praying 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 Andhra Pradesh is celebrated by Banjara/Lambadi tribe . This is one of the biggest festival for Banajara's. It is quite popular in villages and Thandas. It is a week long festival. On day 1 unmarried girls put wheat on a small bamboo basket. On the 7th day of sowing Teej festival is celebrated. They take all the bamboo basket in a procession and immerse them in nearby pond or river.
Haryali Teej is one of the famous festivals of Haryana, especially in the Gujjar, Ahir and Jat communities, and is celebrated as an official holiday. Many functions are organised by the Haryana government to celebrate this festival. This festival is celebrated to welcome the rainy season. It falls on the third day of 'Shrwana' month. Boys fly kites from morning to evening. 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 to 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 Chauth, the mother sends a baya or gift. The pooja is performed in the morning. The baya, which consists of a variety of foodstuffs, 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, including the women's prayers for their husbands' longevity and their families.
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.
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 is known as teeyan in Punjab.
Elsewhere in India
Traditionally Teej is celebrated mainly in Bihar (Hartalika Teej Vrat), Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan & Uttar Pradesh 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 is an important festival amongst the Baniya and Marwari communities. 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 lunch is organized by the women of the house for themselves. It is the traditional women's day of the community. It is customary for mothers-in-law to give a new daughter-in-law a piece of jewellery on her first Teej after marriage.
Traditionally, a married woman would go to her mother's 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 — Teej for the daughters-in-law — in their marital home. Buddhi Teej normally falls within a week after Rakhi.
On this day a special sweet called "Sattu" is made. Sattu is made up of wheat for unmarried girls, which she can eat after seeing moon at night.
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