Essay on Teej Festival
Nepal is a land of diversity. It is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious nation where people of different races and backgrounds live. With such diversity, many festivals and social events have become the most cultural assets. Out of many festivals, Nepalese celebrate, Teej is also one of them.
Teej is one of the major festivals celebrated by Hindu women. It is purely a women’s festival celebrated all over Nepal and North India. The festival generally falls in August or early in September (the Third day of Bhadra Shukla Paksha in the Nepalese calendar). Teej is a three-day long festival that women celebrate for their happy marital life and the well-being of their husbands.
According to Hindu mythology, the father of Parvati (who was a king) had promised to give her daughter to Lord Vishnu. Parvati didn’t want such to happen and with the help of her friend, she escaped from the place. Soon she expressed her wish to marry Lord Shiva. She fasted and prayed to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva agreed to her request as he was impressed by her dedication.
So this day is also known as the day of their union. This is why people celebrate Teej. Married women take fast on this day praying for their husband’s long life and prosperity. Unmarried women also take fast on this day in hopes of finding a husband like Shiva who is caring and loving.
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The first day of Teej is often called “Dar Khane Din”. This is a day of celebration and feast. Women dress up in their finest dresses and jewelry ( sorha singar ) and gather at a place. The color red is considered auspicious by many and hence women can be seen in shades of red.
They enjoy the day socializing, chit-chatting, sharing news and stories, singing, and dancing. The word “dar” means heavy or more amounts of food. So the socializing events are followed by a feast. Women are excluded from doing any difficult housework and men take over. They cook food and feed their wives and other women who have gathered. Women are also invited by their brothers to take part in feasts and enjoy their day before fasting.
The second day of Teej is called “Brata Basne Din”. This is the day of fasting. Women fast for the whole 24 hours without any food. Some refrain from even drinking water while some have only fruits and milk. They dress up and visit temples of Shiva and offer him fruits and flowers. Pashupatinath Temple is full of women waiting in line to worship him. Similarly, all Shiva temples around the country have a long queue too. The important part of the worshipping is the oil lamp which should be lit throughout the night. It is believed that the light of an oil lamp all night will bring peace and prosperity to the husband and the family too.
There is also a tradition to put henna tattoos (Mehendi) on hands and feet. They are beautifully patterned tattoos with beliefs that it signifies the bond between husband and wife. Many believe that the darker their Mehendi is the more loving their husband is.
The third day of the festival is known as “Rishi Panchami”. Women get up early on this day, take bath and perform puja. After its completion, they break their fast and have solid food. This day is devoted to purifying any sins women may have committed during the previous years. Women visit the seven saints, offer prayers to gods and cleanse themselves. They use Basil and Bel leaves for worshipping and getting rid of sins. This way the three-day-long festival ends.
This festival has nowadays become a medium for women to bond and share their pains and sorrows too. They do songs and plays to convey messages and this has been a solid opportunity to voice against women’s violence. Due to some people’s strict beliefs, women don’t take water.
This can also lead to fainting due to dehydration and overheating. Such activities that have such effects should be minimized too. To conclude, Teej is a festival of joy for most women all over Nepal. This is the season of lush greenery where we can see women in beautiful red clothing and jewelry. It is a festival of joy that helps make deeper bonds with their husbands and socialize with other women.
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