Teej is a generic name for a number of festivals that are celebrated by Nepal’s women festival mainly in Nepal and some parts of India. Hartalika Teej welcomes the monsoon season and is celebrated primarily by girls and women, with songs, dancing and prayer rituals. The monsoon festivals of Teej are primarily dedicated to Goddess Parvati and memorial her union with Lord Shiva.
The festival is celebrated for well-being of spouse and children and purification of one’s body and soul. The festival is a three-day-long celebration that combines sumptuous feasts as well as rigid fasting. Teej 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. The folk music and dances add more flavors to traditional values of Teej. Women in red dress, dance and sing in the street, going to temple in holy and fasting mood. Teej is also called Haritalika Teej. This festival is celebrated by Nepal’s women festival all across the world.Nepalese Women lined up to making offerings to Parvati and Shiva at Pashupatinath Temple.
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. Amidst all this, the grand feast takes place. What is unusual about this day is that the feast is hosted by men. 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 — 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.
The second day is the fasting day. Some women live without food and drops of water while others take liquid and fruit. The fasting is observed by 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. Unmarried women observe the fast with a hope of being blessed with a good husband.
The third day of the festival is Rishi Panchami. 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. This act of purification is the final ritual of Teej, after which women are considered absolved from all their sins. Recent years have witnessed an alteration in the rituals, especially concerning the severity, but its essence remains the same.