Teej | Hindu Women's Festival
From the day after Bhadra’s new moon, Hindu women celebrate Teej festival for 3 days. It is known all over the world as a festival of Hindu women.
The bright and unique Teej festival is a celebration for all Nepalese Hindu women. Haritalika Teej falls on the third day of the new moon of Bhadra (late August or early September). In this festival, women commemorate Parbati and Shiva's union by singing, dancing, and doing rituals. Married women visit their parent’s home on this day.
Teej is a three day Hindu festival dedicated to women. On the first day; eat sweets as well as other healthy diets. Following day; they take a fast without even drinking water. On the final day they practice rituals, take a holy bath to worship Saptarishi.
Not only in Nepal, Hindu women in India also celebrate Teej festival. Also Hindu women all over the word celebrate this festival but in different names and in different ways. People of Far-western and Mid-western celebrate Gaura Parva like Haritalika Teej.
The three days of Teej in Nepal are;
- Dar Khane Din - Day 1
- Haritalika Teej Vrata - Day 2
- Rishi Panchami Vrata - Day 3
Dar Khane Din
Women of the Hindu community celebrate Dar Khane Din on the first day of Teej festival. Dar khane din means the day of eating food. Women celebrate the day by eating a meal excluding meat items at night. They do so since the next day they do not even drink water.
Traditionally, men prepare a feast for women on Dar Khane Din. Women complete eating before the Sunrise and the Haritalika Teej Vrata begins.
Haritalika Teej Vrata
On the second day of Teej, women fast for a whole day without eating food or even drinking water. The day is known as Haritalika Teej Vrata. The Nepal government allows national holidays for women.
Massive number of women and girls group out to Shiva temples nearby and worship Lord Shiva. One of the most essential things they wish for is long and healthy lives for their partners. Likewise, unmarried girls take this Vrata wishing to get a husband as loving as Lord Shiva. In Kathmandu, Pashupatinath Temple fills up with women during the Teej Festival. They dance and sing religious as well as folk songs.
Though Hindu ladies don’t eat anything from dawn to night in the hopes to bring good fortune to their spouses, they are seen dancing and singing throughout the day. It is all possible since they get energy from the food they consume in Dar Khane Din. The shrines and streets will fill up with women wearing crimson saris with jewelries.
Story behind Haritalika Teej Celebration
People celebrate Teej to remember the day when Shiva and Parbati reunited. Legends say that King Himavan promised Parbati (108th incarnation of Goddess Sati) to Lord Vishnu. After hearing that, Parbati ran into the jungle and made a Shiva lingam with her hair. Parbati took a fast and lived life doing austerity for many years. Finally on this day, Lord Shiva accepted her as his wife.
Rishi Panchami Vrata
Rishi Panchami Vrata is the third and the final day of the Teej Festival. This day falls on the next day or a day after Haritalika Teej Vrata.
On the day Rishi Panchami Vrata too, women take fast but only till they worship seven saints (Saptarishi). Saptarishi are seven saints who contribute a lot for the welfare of society. Nepali women take bath with cow dung and soil early in the morning. They brush their teeth with datiwan (Achyranthes bidentata Blume) stem. This holy bath is the symbolic representation of cleansing the sins as well. After puja, they enjoy a course of lavish meals and end the fast.