Haritalika Teej-The festival of Nepalese women.
When I am writing this blog, Nepal is red! It’s not that the country is on flame or something, but the red color of dresses that Nepalese women are wearing today. They are out singing and dancing in full swing that you wouldn’t see other times of the year! Today is truly the day of Nepalis women when they take a break from their job and daily household chores and come out singing and dancing with their besties and female family members. The festival is called Haritalika Teej or simply Teej (also spelled as Tij).
The festival Teej is directly connected and observed only by Hindu women in Nepal every year on the 3rd day (Tritiya) of the waning phase of the moon (Shukla Paksha) in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada (End of August or beginning of September). The date and month may vary each year in the Gregorian calendar. This year, Hartalika Teej 2019 in Nepal began on Sunday 1st September and ends on Tuesday 3rd September.
According to the legend of Haritalika Teej, the friend of Goddess Parvati took her to the forest to hide from her father because he wanted her to get married to Lord Vishnu against her wish. Parvati later married Lord Shiva. This festival is devoted to Lord Shiva and also celebrate the determination of Goddess Parvati who reincarnated 108 lives until she got married to Lord Shiva. So, Teej is the day where married women fast and pray for good health and longevity of their husbands while unmarried girls seek blessings to have the perfect life partner.
Teej is celebrated for three days, the first day of the festival is celebrated by feasting on abundant and delicious food called ‘Dar’ (pronounced as dur). Women feast on until midnight and sing and dance! The next day is one big and important day- the main festival Teej. This day is observed by strict fasting all day without, consuming a single drop of water! All local Shiva temples are flooded with women wearing red, singing, and dancing that symbolizes the festival of Teej. Wearing red on this day is obligatory since this color hold a special meaning to married women in Nepal. In the evening, butter lamps and offerings are made, and while many break their fasting by following important ritual but many of them still prefer to do it the next day. The next day and the last day of the festival is observed as ‘Rishipanchami.’ Devotees perform the holy ritual, which is believed to purify them from all sins. This day marks the end of the fasting and the festival.