Haritalik Teej: A Festival Only for Women
Nepal is very diverse in culture and ethnicity. It is a land of festival. Hundreds of festivals are celebrated every year. Among them Teej is one, which is totally dedicated to women. Teej is one of the greatest festivals especially for all Hindu women in Nepal and it is also celebrated in India. As it is celebrated by women, therefore,it is also called as the fasting festival for the women. It falls on the month of August-September (Bhadra –Shrawan). It is celebrated for 3 days. It is also referred to as Haritalik Teej. The married women celebrate or keep fast for the wellness and the long life of their husbands whereas, unmarried girls fast to find preferred mates in their future. The first day of Teej is “Dar Khanay Din”. On this day, women if married are called by their parents, brothers and all the sisters are gathered in their birth place if possible with their parents. Also, all women gather in one place to sing and dance on Teej songs. The most distinct feature of this day is the special food called “Dar”. The second day is fasting day of Teej. Most women and girls fast with full dedication without having a single drop of water for 24 hours. Women worship Mahadev (Lord Shiva). The women are well dressed in red Saris, Kurtas and jewelry. The main place for this day is Pashupatinath Temple where women come to worship lord Shiva and Pravati. The temple is decorated beautifully on this day. Lighting of oil lamps is one of the most important parts of Teej. It is said that oil lamps should be kept lit for the whole night to avoid bad omen. The last day of Teej is Rishi Panchami. On this day women folk take a holy bath with red mud found on the roots of a plant named “Datiwal” and also with the roots. It is believed that it will clean all the sins of the previous year and purify them. After many hours of rigorous cleansing, they are purified. They sit in semicircle and chant prayers. Like all festivals, Teej these days is celebrated as a fashion not tradition. In the name of Teej people show off their money, power and wellness. They start celebrating a month before the actual event, it is just a waste of money rather than Teej celebration.