Teej is an energetic and exciting three-day festival celebrated by the Hindi women of Nepal. The festival is celebrated by both married women and unmarried women who have reached puberty. It is a way to ensure happiness and good fortune for them and their husbands and children. Teej occurs in late August or early September.
Teej is celebrated in honor of the Goddess Parbati. Hindi holy texts report that the goddess unrelentingly begged Lord Shiva to marry her and devotedly fasted so that her request would be granted, according to the Nepal Trekking Pass website. After seeing the loyalty and devotion of the Goddess, Lord Sheva granted her request and took her as his wife. After the marriage took place, the goddess sent those devoted to her out to teach other women to fast and pray to ensure a happy marriage filled with many children.
Day One: Dar Khane Din
On the first day of Teej, the women of Nepal gather together for a festive celebration. Most of the women in Nepal dress in red saris because red is the traditional bridal color. Most also adorn themselves in glass bangle bracelets, beads and henna. The women dance and sing traditional songs on this day, and a feast is served to prepare for the fasting to come. A special food called "dar" is often served during the feast. The first day of Teej goes on until midnight, at which time the next day of fasting begins.
Day Two: The Day of Fasting
On the second day of Teej, married women and single women who desire happy marriages in the future fast and pray. On this day, the women come together in the temple and pray to Lord Shiva that their marriages may be blessed and they may produce happy, healthy offspring. The women wear flowers, and carry sweets and coins as they circle the phallic symbol of Lord Shiva in what is known as the Lingham ceremony. During this religious ceremony known as Puja, an oil lamp is lit that cannot be allowed to go out. Offerings of fruits and flowers are laid beneath idols of Lord Shiva and the Goddess Parbati.
Day 3: Rishi Panjami
On the third day of Teej, the women of Nepal perform a purification ritual meant to cleanse them of all of their sins from the previous year. The women worship the Hindi deities Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. They bathe themselves for hours in red mud and leaves from the roots of the Datiwan bush. After purification, the women are absolved of all sin, and they gather around a priest who chants prayers of devotion.
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