Teej: A Popular Festival of Nepali Women!

October 18, 2023 by No Comments

Teej is a festival especially celebrated by North Indian and Nepali Hindu females. Teej literally means the third day after the new moon.

In Nepal, Hindu ladies celebrate called Teej Festival. This festival’s major significance is when women fast throughout this three-day event in order to pray for a long and happy marriage. Furthermore, the focus of this celebration is love and adoration for Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Women from all walks of life, not just those who are married, participate in Teej. Previously, it was mainly for a few categories of individuals, but however now women from various backgrounds participate.

Hindu females visiting temple to celebrate Teej
Hindu females visiting the temple to celebrate Teej

Teej occurs in Nepal’s rainy season, around late August or early September. So, this time of year is often rainy. Also, the Pashupatinath temple, which holds great significance for devotees of Lord Shiva, is one of the major gathering places to celebrate. Teej is a remarkable festival because women dance to traditional music while wearing red clothing. In order to look lovely, they also put on bangles, tikas (marks on the forehead), and pretty jewelry.

Hence, Teej is a beautiful celebration where ladies fast, pray, and celebrate while wearing red attire. They celebrate to express their love for Lord Shiva and their desire for their husband’s long lifespan and for a better future husband.

Types of Teej

There are three different types of teej and ways to celebrate it. Namely: Haritalika, Hariyali, and Kajari Teej.

  • Haritalika Teej: This type of Teej focuses on Goddess Parvati. As per the Hindu history and granthas, she didn’t want to marry anyone besides Lord Shiva. While her father has already her hands to Lord Vishnu. Her friend assisted her in hiding in the dense forest. Parvati used to worship Lord Shiva while creating a Shiva lingam out of her hair. Her devotion moved him so much that he decided to marry her with her father’s approval. So most Nepali ladies celebrate this Teej to honor their love story.

  • Hariyali Teej: The name itself of this type means green. People celebrate it when everything is lush and green. On this day, Lord Shiva welcomed Parvati into his marriage. In this type, women fast and concentrate on the moon. People especially celebrate it in areas of India like Punjab and Rajasthan.

  • Kajari Teej: This teej is also referred to as Boorhi Teej or Kajali Teej. This is about women dancing, singing, and praising Lord Shiva. The lyrics of the songs to celebrate describes how a woman feels while she is away from her parents’ house or how she wishes to meet her brothers on Teej. Women celebrate Kajari Teej without food or drink, breaking their fast with sattu, a combination of flour and cereals.

On a day known as Dar Khane Din (Feast Day), parents or brothers invite their married daughters or sisters to celebrate Teej together. People in Nepal also practice this custom.

Significance of This Festival

For Hindu women in Nepal, the Teej Festival has a special meaning because it is a time when they fervently pray for their husbands’ long-term health and happiness. This lively celebration honors the celestial marriage of Lord Shiva, the Hindu deity known for both creation and destruction. And Parvati, the personification of Devi Shakti, or divine feminine energy, also functions as a monsoon festival.

Similarly, this festival originates from the enthralling story of Parvati, whom her father set up. Her father was also the monarch who arranged marriage to Lord Vishnu. But Parvati deftly avoided this doom with the help of her loyal friend and decided to wed Lord Shiva instead. Thus, Teej honors both the sacred union between Lord Shiva and Parvati as well as romantic love in general.

In its purest form, this festival is about honoring Lord Shiva and Parvati. Hindu married women fast on this day with unwavering devotion, pleading with God for the prosperity and long life of their husbands. On the other hand, the goal of this fast for single women is to find a life partner who possesses the characteristics of Lord Shiva. A husband who values and cherishes his wife above all else.

Hence, Teej serves as a monument to the great importance of love, devotion, and the eternal union of the male and feminine forces. Lord Shiva and Parvati represented it. It is a celebration that unifies communities, crosses generational boundaries, and reminds all who participate in it of the enduring power of love and faith.

How do People Celebrate Teej?

In Nepal, the Teej Festival is a significant occasion, particularly for women. It is also known as the Nepal Women’s Festival and the Women’s Wishing Festival and lasts for three days.

Day 1: Day 1 starts when women go shopping first thing in the morning. They meet together in the evening to prepare a delectable meal and make sweets. They gather with friends, partake of food, dance, and sing old tunes. The celebration lasts till midnight.

Nepalese females dancing on Day 1 of Teej
Nepalese females dancing on Day 1 of Teej

Day 2: Day 2 is the most important day. In Nepal, today is a holiday. Women get ready by early morning shower. Following to dress elegantly in red bridal saris, and exquisite gold, and silver jewelry. To pray for the well-being of their husbands and families, they visit Shiva temples with flowers and fruits.

Nepalese female gathering at Pashupatinath Temple at Day 2
Nepalese female gathering at Pashupatinath Temple on Day 2

However, girls who are single participate in the prayers for a better future husband. For this, the Pashupatinath Temple is a well-known location. The intriguing aspect is that women refrain from eating anything the entire day to demonstrate their commitment and conviction that doing so will bring luck to their husbands.

Day 3: Rishi Panchami is observed on the third day. Women take a ceremonial bath with red mud and leaves from a sacred bush after paying reverence to seven saints. This symbolic bath helps them to wash their sins. To make their desires from the previous day come true, they then worship the god Ganesh. Finally, they can eat a sumptuous lunch that features interesting delicacies including bean soup, mutton soup, and carrot desserts.

Nepalese female on Day 3 in Bagmati river for ritual bath
Nepalese female on Day 3 in Bagmati river for ritual bath

Also read: Nepal Festivals and Celebrations: A Comprehensive Guide