Teej Festival in Nepal
Teej or Haritalika Teej is the greatest festival of Hindu women all over Nepal, which is celebrated for marital happiness, husband’s longevity and purification of one’s body and soul. Teej festival is dedicated to lord Parvati, commemorating her union with Lord Shiva. According to Hindu mythology, Himalaya (the father of Lord Parvati) promised Parvati’s marriage with Lord Shiva. Since the decision was against Parvati’s wish, she asked her friend to abduct (harit) her. The friend (aalika) abducted and took her to a thick forest where Parvati made a Shiva Linga out of her hair and prayed. Lord Shiva was impressed with her prayer and gave his words to marry her. Therefore, Teej celebration is highly associated with husband and marriage. It is also said that the fasting during Teej is specially to get the man you desire (for unmarried girls) and for husband’s longevity (for married woman).
When Teej is celebrated
According to Nepalese calendar, Teej festival falls on the 3rd day of Bhadra Shukla Pakshya i.e. late August or early September. This year, Teej falls on 19 Bhadra 2073 (August 4, 2016).
How Teej Festival is celebrated
Since Teej is the festival of women and girls, they celebrate it by gathering together, feasting and dancing. In the past, Teej was when all the women in the family (sisters and mother) gathered together and shared their joys and sorrows. But recently, it is celebrated a bit differently, with a huge Dar party (Teej feast) that is organized weeks before the actual arrival of Teej.
During Teej, all the women and girls are seen in red clothing especially red sari and kurta salwar. Married daughters are called by their parents or brothers in their mother’s house and they celebrate the festival. Interestingly, women do not go to their mother’s house until they are called.
Day 1 or Dar Khane Din
In this day, daughters go to their mother’s house and women assemble together in their finest red clothing and sing devotional songs and feast together. Brothers host the feast and sisters are invited on the day. Women sing songs about their family and social issues, discrimination as well as the struggles they’ve faced. Teej is also a time to express women’s voice through songs. Women appear in full make-up (Sorha Sringar) and dance a lot before they are ready to eat. The main food as Dar includes rice porridge, yogurt, and meat but these days a variety of food is served which is rich and abundant. The feast lasts till midnight after which the strict 24-hour fasting starts.
Day 2 or the Fasting Day
In this day, a strict fasting is observed by women and girls. Some women do not even take a single drop of water or food. They take a bath early in the morning and go to a nearby temple for Puja. They offer flowers, fruits and coins to Lord Shiva and his wife Lord Parvati. They sing and dance throughout the day. They also light oil lamps which they believe brings peace and prosperity if lit for a longer time. The women and girls who fast strictly are believed to be blessed with a good husband (for unmarried) and husband’s longevity and prosperity (for married).
Day 3 or Ganesh Chaturthi
In this day, women wake up early in the morning, take a bath and worship the oil lamp and goddess Parvati before consuming any solid food.
Day 4 or Rishi Panchami
On this day, women pay homage to various deities by taking a sacred bath in a nearby river with the red mud found on the roots of sacred Datiwan bush. They bite 365 pieces of the sacred plant’s stem early in the morning and purify themselves. It is believed that performing this ritual will rid women of all the past sins. During the day time, they perform Panchami Puja as well as they sing and dance all day long.
Why Teej festival is celebrated
Teej festival is mainly celebrated for the following reasons.
- Married women observe Teej fasting for their husband’s longevity, children’s well-being, family happiness as well as peace and prosperity.
- Unmarried girls and women observe Teej fasting to be blessed by Lord Parvati in order to get a good husband.
- Both married and unmarried celebrate Teej as it is a way to gather together, sing, dance and share their feelings.
- Also, women celebrate Teej to purify their body and soul by performing Pooja and singing devotional songs.
Image credit: kaajoo.tumblr.com
Teej, short for Hartalika Teej, is the fasting festival of women in Nepal. It usually takes place in Nepali Bhadra month (August to September in Solar Calendar) and lasts for three days. Teej Puja is particularly held at Pashupatinath to commemorate the reunion of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva. During Teej Festival, Nepalese women will dress in their beautiful red saris, fast to honor Lord Shiva and pray for a happy marriage.
On this particular day, the streets of Kathmandu have turned into a sea of red with women dressing in beautiful saris.
It's a festival for Nepali Hindu women, which is also celebrated in some part of India. In order to protect the traditional culture, the government of Nepal has made Teej Festival as a national holiday. Nepali Teej Festival 2016 has been celebrated on September 4th. As for Teej Festival this year, please feel free to contact us for further consulting.
Background of Teej Festival, Nepali Women's Day
Long time ago, the king of Himalaya had a beautiful daughter named Parvati, who was very intelligent and deeply admired the Hindu God of Destruction and Creation, Shiva. But the king decided to marry Parvati to the wealthy Vishnu. With the assistance of her friends, Parvati successfully escaped from the house and hid in the thick forest. From then on, she led an ascetic life. Upon hearing this, Shiva was so surprised and decided to test her sincerity. He disguised as the rich Vishnu and rode a gorgeous carriage to see Parvati, trying to lure her to marry him. However, Parvati still remained unmoved. Shiva was so impressed by her determination and revealed his identity. At last, Parvati realized her dream and married Shiva. Owing to her friends' help, Parvati could get rid of the arranged marriage. She was very grateful to them and held a party to celebrate this happy ending. This is the origin of Teej Festival.
Celebrations of Teej Festival
Hartalika Teej is also known as "Nepal Women's Festival" and "Women's Wishing Festival". The events would last for three days, including enjoying a grand feast, observing a rigid fasting, praying to Lord Shiva, bathing in the holy river, presenting traditional performances, etc. Nepali Women's Day is generally referred to the second day of Teej Festival.
Day1 Getting together to enjoy the fancy dinner
In the early morning, Nepalese women go to the mall for large purchases. When the night falls, they'll make a hearty meal and prepare tasty sweets. Good friends will gather together with foods and drinks, perform traditional dances and sing devotional songs. Those celebrations continue till the midnight.
Nepali females are dancing on the streets of Kathmandu.
Day2 Observing a one-day fast and praying to Lord Shiva for a good marriage
Today is the fasting day of Teej Festival. It's also a public holiday in Nepal. After having a warm bath, women will wear gold and silver jewelry and dress in their red wedding saris. Then they head in groups to Shiva temples nearby and offer flowers and fruits to Lord Shiva. One of the most important things is to make a wish for the healthy life of their husbands and families. The unmarried girls also follow Teej rituals to pray for a good husband.
A Nepalese woman is praying in front of Pashupatinath Temple.
The Pashupatinath Temple, located on the bank of the holy Bagmati River, is the most important Hindu temple in Nepal. During Teej Festival, it is also the top choice for women to worship Lord Shiva. On the way to Pashupatinath Temple, Nepali women will try to make themselves as happy as possible so as to attract Shiva's attention. While touring Kathmandu, you'll come across women and young girls in exquisite saris everywhere and red has become the theme color.
It's said that the oil lamp should be kept lit all night to avoid bad omen.
What's interesting is that on this day of the festival, all Hindu women can not eat anything from morning till night. They must fast for the whole day. Pious women believe that it'll bring the good fortune for their husbands. And for them, the family is everything. Surprisingly, under the fasting condition, Nepalese women don't feel tired after a one-day prayer. You must be amazed at their devout faith and strong wishes for a better life.
Day 3 Taking a holy bath
The third day is known as Rishi Panchami. After paying homage to seven saints, Nepali women would bathe with red mud found on the roots of the sacred datiwan bush, along with its leaves. This symbolic bath will absolve them of all sins. Then they go to worship the god Ganesh, so that their wishes made in the previous day can be achieved. On this day, women can enjoy a sumptuous meal. Many dishes are unique to this festival, such as a special bean soup, exotic mutton soup and desserts made of carrots.
Nepalese Hindu women take a ritual bath in the Bagmati River during the Rishi Panchami festival in Kathmandu.
Nepali Teej Festival is the first grand festival coming at the end of the rainy season. At that time, the sky is clear and sunshine is cozy. You'll see Nepali Hindu females singing and dancing at the streets and temples to celebrate the arrival of Teej Festival. Unmarried girls look forward to a good marriage in the future, and married women pray for the long and healthy life of their husbands. As time goes by, non-Hindus and foreign travelers can also participate in the hilarious festival. Besides, if visiting Nepal from August to September, you are likely to experience another two big festivals, namely, Gai Jatra and Nepal Kumari Festival.
About the Author - Master Catherine Jigme
With exceptional passion and outstanding leadership, Mrs. Catherine has dedicated herself to Tibet inbound tourism and China tour for 15 years. As one of the handful females who see great potential of Chinese inbound tourism, Catherine has made great contribution to promoting Tibet tourism and enhancing the employment of Tibetans and prosperity of local Tibetan community.
Over the years, she travelled overseas with Tibet Tourism Bureau many times to promote Tibet tourism. Currently, Catherine works as the marketing director of Tibet Vista, an opinion leader behind the whole team of Tibet Vista.
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