Teej- festival of women
Teej is fasting festival which is observed by Hindu women in Nepal. It usually takes place in August or early September.
Specially, teej is a festival for married women to pray for their husband’s longitivity, successfull career and healthy life. And also some unmarried women to keep the fasting in belief to get a good husband.
It is also observed for the well being of children and purification of their own body and soul.
Traditionally, the ritual of Teej is obligatory for all Hindu married women and girls who have reached puberty. Exception is made for the ones who are ill or physically unfit. In such circumstances a priest performs the rites.
According to the myth, the Goddess Parbati kept fasting and was able to get Lord Shiva as spouse. Goddess Parbati, in gratitude sent her emissary to preach and disseminate this religious fasting among mortal women, promising prosperity and longevity with their family. Thus was born the festival of Teej.
A day before the Teej is called “Dar Khane Din”. On this day, women both married and unmarried gathers and organize a nice feast along with dancing and singing. A grand feast takes place where daughters are called in their maternal home to enjoy feast.
The very next day, a fasting takes place where women dazzling on red sarees and ornaments visit different temples of Lord Shiva to offer homage. In these pilgrimages, women and girls are also seen singing “Teej songs” and dancing. Teej songs are supposed to be songs which would express the love, behaviour and responsibilities of husband and family along with the pain to get departed from her birth house too. But with modernization, the songs includes emotions for country and others too.
Usually earlier, women used to fast without even drinking a drop of water. Some even tells that they wouldn’t even swallow their saliva. But with modernization and considering health of women, such harsh fasting is not practiced now-a-days. Women can drink water, fruits and juice.
After long day on fasting, women can take meal after puja at night. On the next day of Teej 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. In this day, married women have fasting and pujas.