Teej Vrata (Haritarika)
Teej festival is the biggest Hindu festival of Nepalese women, which is celebrated all over Nepal. The festival generally falls in August or early in September. Mainly, the festival is dedicated to Goddess Parvati, who was the wife of Lord Shiva. During this Teej festival in Nepal, married women take fast for the long and healthy life of their husbands as well as pray for prosperity. On the same occasion, unmarried girls take fast to get a good husband in the future. Both Married and unmarried women celebrate Teej with love and dedication. During the festival, women are dressed in red Sarees with gold ornaments from head to toe.
Significance of Teej Festival in Nepal
Teej is the great festival for Hindu Women who celebrate as for the longlasting life of her Husband. It is also a monsoon festival celebrated for the union of lord shiva (Hindu God is known as destruction and creation) and Parvati (Hindu Goddess is known as Devi Shakti).
According to Hindu mythology, it is believed that the king (Parvati Father) Wants to make a arrange marriage to the Lord Vishnu but by the help of her friend she escapes from there and married the lord shiva. So this day also takes as a union of lord Shiva and Parvati. This is why we celebrate Teej for the shake of Lord Shiva and Parvati. So, Hindu Married women take fast on this day for the prosperity of their husband’s long life and unmarried women take fast on this day to get the husband like shiva who loves his wife more than himself.
How Teej Festival is Celebrated
Teej usually falls in Nepali Bhadra month (August to September), so it is also called the moonstone festival. During the festival, people worship the God of Gods Shiva and Devi Parvati at Pashupatinath temple as their union day. It is a day of fasting, so Hindu women dress all in Red Sari, Gold, and Silver jewellery just to look like Parvati and worship their husbands and fast to honour Lord Shiva & pray for the long life of husband and pray for a happy married life. Teej is all about praying the Devi Parvati and Lord Shiva, worshipping and remembering their union day and staying all night in the name of God and Goddess.
On this special occasion, people invite their married daughters to their home to celebrate the festival together. It is also an opportunity for women to visit their parents. Teej is mainly celebrated for 3 days, which are a feast day, Fasting Day and Rishi Panchami.
Teej Festival: Feast, Fasting and Worship
On the first day (Dar Khane Din) women gather together in a place wearing beautiful red clothes. They sing folk songs, dance together and have special food called Dar. Normally it is celebrated with relatives and close friends just before the fasting day. However, these days women gather and start celebrating many days prior to the main festival, Teej. Nepalese women from all over the world have started celebrating the festival in their respective regions. Small events/programs are organized to celebrate this auspicious occasion even in foreign countries.
The second day is the main Teej festival day, women spend the whole day without taking any food or water. In Kathmandu, thousands of women visit Pashupatinath Temple to worship Lord Mahadev. Respectively all Shiva temples around the country have a long queue to worship Lord Mahadev and seek blessings. At the end of the day, they eat some fresh fruits and drink Kada Pani (crystallized sugar water).
Chathurthi is the gap day between Teej and Rishi Panchami. On this day women wake up early in the morning, they take bath and worship the Goddess Parvati before taking any food.
On the last day of the Teej (Rishi Panchami), women wake up early in the morning, take a holy bath, clean their teeth with Dattiun steam. In rural areas, women go to the nearest river to take the holy bath on this day. After cleansing, they worship by offering food, money and various other offerings to seven Rishis of Hindu pantheon with a pure soul. They use Basil and Bel leaves (Aegle Marmelos) to worship. After finishing Puja women take food.
Teej in Pashupatinath Temple
Pashupatinath is the famous Hindu Temple and also an important religious site for Hindus and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that Shiva (Hindu God) is the most powerful deity known as God of Gods, also named as the one who has the power of creation and destruction. According to Hindu Mythology, Pashupati is the incarnation of Lord Shiva as the animal.
As Teej is all about Mahadev Shiva and Devi Parvati, people visit Pashupatinath Temple to worship Lord Shiva and to pray for the happiness and health of the family. More than 500,000 Nepali women visit Pashupatinath Temple during the Teej festival. People from different parts of the Indian subcontinent come to visit Pashupatinath to appease Lord Shiva.