Teej Festival Celebrations and its Significance
Teej festival is celebrated by the Hindu women folk of India. This is a fasting festival. As the name suggests Teej falls on the 3rd day of the Shukla Paksha of the Hindi calendar month Sawan i.e the monsoon month. According to the English calendar this festival falls somewhere in the month of August – September. Teej is the starting of the monsoon season. 'Teej' in Hindi is a red insect which comes out of the warm earth when the showers of rain fall on it.
This festival is dedicated to the union of the divine couple Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It is a 3 day festival which includes strict fasting followed by sumptuous feast. The women keep rigid fast mostly for the well-being of their husband's long life.
Teej is primarily celebrated in the North India. It is celebrated in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Bihar and Delhi/NCR.
Types of Teej Festival in MP
There are three types of Teej namely:
1. Kajari Teej
2. Hariyali Teej
3. Hartalika Teej
All the three types of Teej fall between the Hindu month Sawan and Bhado. The difference in the 3 types of Teej is the regions where they are celebrated.
The first teej which is celebrated in India is the Haryali Teej. Haryali Teej is primarily celebrated as the start of the monsoons. As the name suggest it is celebrated for good harvest and is related to the greenery that is found in abundance in the season.
It is a women's festival specially for the married ones when they pray for their husband's well being. The day before the hariyali teej is celebrated for Sindhara. Sindhara is the gift where the daughter-in-law receives clothes and ornaments from her mother-in-law. The daughter-in-law in return also gifts their mother-in-law similar things. This custom is usually celebrated for the newly wedded brides on their first teej.
Hariyali teej is usually celebrated in the areas of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. The married women wear green colored clothes, green bangles and decorate their hands with beautiful mehndi designs.
After the Hariyali Teej, comes the Kajari Teej. It is celebrated on the tritiya(i.e 3rd day) of the Krishna Paksh in the Hindi month of sawan. It is mostly celebrated in Rajasthan(primarily in a place called Bundi), Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Kajri teej is celebrated with enthusiasm and devotion. Swings are laid in the garden and married women and young girls sing songs and dance to celebrate this auspicious festival. Then a community pooja is performed around the holy neem tree.
The last type of Teej that is celebrated in most of North Indian states is the Hartalika Teej. This Hartalika teej is mostly celebrated in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. By the time this teej is reached the hindi month sawan gets over and another month called bhadra or bhado strats. Hartalika teej falls on the first 3rd day(tritiya) of Krishna paksh of the hindi month 'Bhadra'. Hartalika teej is dedicated to the Goddess Parvathi. Both married and unmarried women celebrate this festival. It is said that the married women are blessed with the long life of their husbands where as the unmarried girls are blessed with Lord Shiva like good & loving husbands.
For celebrating Hariyali teej and Kajari Teej married women usually go back to their parent's house but by Hartalika teej they come back to their in-laws house. Women try to look most beautiful on this day. They wear new clothes, jewellery, bangles etc. They put mehndi on their hands, mahavar on their feet, kajal in their eyes and bindi on their forehead. Idols of Goddess Parvathi are made and decorated in vibrant color clothes and ornaments.
Hartalika teej is a 3 day festival. The first day is celebrated as the start of the festival by the ladies by gathering together and singing, dancing and applying mehndi on the hands and later exchanging gifts between the daughter-in-law and mother-in-law. The second day is the main day of the celebration when the married women keep fast. They donot eat or drink anything the whole day as a token of homage to Goddess Parvathi and later worship Goddess Parvathi on the next day and eat food and drink water.
Teej fast procedure and puja process
Fasting is the integral part of the teej celebration. This fast is called Nirjala Vrat. All married women refrain themselves from food and even water for a whole day and then worship the goddess for the longevity of their soul mates and complete their fast by eating prasadam and drinking water from the hands of their husbands.
The idol of Goddess Parvathi is made of clay and is decorated with red color saree, bangles and sindoor. Fruits, grains, sweets , clothes(saree), red bangles and other make up items are offered to the Goddess.
The puja is usaually performed at a place where most of the women from the community can gather. The women folk worship the Teej Mata i.e Goddess Parvathi and perform read Teej Katha. After the puja is over the women folk sit together in the puja place singing and reading prayers throught the whole night. It is customary not to sleep on the teej night. One most important custom is to keep an oil lamp lit all throught the night which signifies the wellbeing of their husbands.
On the third day they break their fast by drinking water and eating some food. The food that is prepared is also special. Some of the common dishes made for the feast are Ghewar and Daal Bati in Rajasthan, Vermicelli, Kheer – puri and Malpua in M.P , U.P & Bihar.