Essay on Teej Festival
Teej is a Hindu festival celebrated by women of Hindu religion across India and Nepal. In India, it is celebrated in places like Haryana, Chandigarh, Gujrat, Rajasthan, Punjab regions while In Nepal It is widely celebrated across the nation. This festival falls mostly during the late monsoon season. The monsoon festivals of Teej are primarily dedicated to Goddess Parvati and her union with Lord Shiva. In this festival, women are celebrated. They play, sing, dance, and enjoy womanhood. For this essay, we shall be focusing on the livelihood brought about by Teej in Nepal.
With the end of evergreen Shrawan (July), comes the month of Bhadra (August). Bhadra is the month where Teej falls. Teej generally refers to the third day of every month after the new moon and the full moon. In Nepal, this festival is mostly observed by Hindu women but is also commonly celebrated by all. This Teej is dedicated to Goddess Parvati on her successful reunion with Lord Shiva.
The festival is a 3-day long celebration that is combined with both extravagant feasts and day-long fasting. According to the legends, it is said that Goddess Parvati ran away from home with her friends when her father promised lord Bishnu to hand over her daughter for marriage. After running away she started her fasts and prayed to Lord Shiva to fulfill her wish to marry him. Soon after Lord Shiva agreed to marry her by saying “Tathastu” which meant he would agree to her request. Hence this Teej festival is also celebrated by women in hopes of marrying their dream husband. As for the married women, Teej is celebrated for the well being of their husbands and their children.
We already know that Teej is a 3-day long festival. The 3 days of the Teej festival are; Dar Khane Din ( The day of the feast ), Brata basne din ( Day of Fast ), and lastly Rishi Panchami ( Homage to Saints ). The first day is the day of the feast. On this day women dress up in their finest attires, groom up to look their best. They assemble at one place and enjoy the day to their heart’s content by dancing, singing devotional songs, or socializing. At this time they also have a sumptuous feast. The feast is prepared by men as well. Women on this day are exempted from doing any work and have a fun day. Women are invited by their brothers for feasts and to enjoy the day before their fast. This is also a day where women come up and express their sorrows and grief through songs and plays. Slowly women are also taking this day as an opportunity to voice against injustice among women.
The second day of Teej is also known as Fasting day. On this day women start their 24 hours fast. On this day women both unmarried or married fast, for their happy and prosperous life with their loved one or for finding a suitable partner. Women dress up and go to Shiva temples and offer their offerings consisting of flowers and fruits. On this day women strictly refrain from drinking any water or indulging in any eating activities while some drink water and eat fruits. All this is done for their prosperity and happiness.
Due to the fast, news of women fainting due to dehydration and overheating is also widely heard. There are people who believe the intake of water is alright during the fast. The important part of the puja is the oil lamp which should be alight throughout the night. It is believed that by the light of an oil lamp all night will bring peace and prosperity to the husband and family. Women also put on Mehendi ( Henna tattoos ). Although the religious belief behind this is uncertain, many believe this is to show their deep affection and love towards their loved ones. It is also believed the darker the Henna tattoos are the deeper their husbands will love their wives.
The third day of Teej is known as Rishi Panchami . On this day women visit the seven saints, offer prayers to deities and cleanse themselves. This day is specifically to cleanse themselves of even signs of “being touched by men during menstruation” and offer prayers to deities.
The main focus of this Teej festival is the songs women sing. The songs being mostly devotional there are songs that sum up the pain of women. the problems and abuse they face. With the upcoming generations, more people are aware of the need for equality of women and this Teej festival is also a platform to voice their opinions. Although the Teej festival is supposed to be lively, this year’s Teej festival will probably not be as grand as it was during the past few years.