Teej (Nepali: तीज)is a fasting festival for Hindu women of some parts of India and Nepal. It takes place in August or early September. It is celebrated for marital bliss, well being of spouse and children and purification of own body and soul. The festival is a three-day long celebration that combines sumptuous feasts as well as rigid fasting.
Teej in Nepal
The first day of Teej is called the "Dar Khane Din". On this day the women, both married and unmarried, assemble at one place, in their finest attires and start dancing and singing devotional songs. Admist all this, the grand feast takes place. The jollity often goes on till midnight, after which the 24 - hour fast starts.
The second day is the fasting day. Some women live without a morsel of food and drops of water while others take liquid and fruit. On this day, they gaily dress and visit a nearby Shiva temple singing and dancing on the way. The Pashupatinath temple gets the highest number of devotees. At the Shiva temple, women circumambulate the Lingam, the phallic symbol of the lord, offering flowers, sweets and coins. The main puja (religious ceremony) takes place with offerings of flowers, fruits etc made to Shiva and Parbati, beseeching their blessing upon the husband and family. The important part of the puja is the oil lamp which should be alight throughout the night for it is bad omen if it dies away.
The third day of the festival is Rishi Panchami. After the completion of the previous day's puja, women pay homage to various deities and bathe with red mud found on the roots of the sacred datiwan bush, along with its leaves. This act of purification is the final ritual of Teej, after which women are considered absolved from all sins. The recent years have witnessed alteration in the rituals, especially concerning the severity, but its essence remains the same.
Teej in India
Teej is celebrated in many parts of Rajasthan and Bihar. They worship Goddess Parvati. A day before this festival is celebrated as Sinjara wherein girls/ladies put on mehandi on their hands and eat ghewar/feeni and other sweets. On Teej, married women pray to Goddess Parvati for well being of their husbands. Idols of goddess Parvati are decorated and taken in a procession in the streets accompanied by singing, music, and dancing.
Teej is also celebrated among the Bania community in Delhi in India. In this area women are also given bangles and bindiss. Swings are also put on trees for the enjoyment of young girls.