Teej, a vibrant and culturally significant festival, holds a special place in the hearts of married women across various parts of India and Nepal. This annual celebration is marked by its lively rituals, traditional songs, and vibrant attire. It is a time for married women to come together, rejoice, and strengthen their bonds, while also commemorating the rich history and legends associated with the festival.
Importance for Married Women
Teej is especially important for married women as it provides them with an opportunity to take a break from their daily routines and responsibilities. The festival is a time for them to focus on their well-being, dress in colorful traditional outfits, and celebrate their marital life. It serves as a moment of respite, allowing married women to express their happiness, gratitude, and wishes for a harmonious married life.
Teej is predominantly celebrated in India, particularly in the northern states of Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, as well as in Nepal. The festival usually falls during the monsoon season, between July and August, adding a touch of freshness and renewal to the festivities.
The history of Teej dates back to ancient times, with roots in Hindu mythology. One of the most well-known legends associated with the festival is that of Goddess Parvati. According to the legend, Parvati observed a rigorous fast and prayed for the well-being of her husband, Lord Shiva. Her devotion and determination inspired married women to emulate her actions, seeking blessings for the prosperity and longevity of their own husbands.
Teej celebrations are marked by a range of customs and traditions:
Fasting: Married women observe a strict fast on this day, refraining from consuming food and water. This fast is believed to purify the body and mind, and it is seen as an act of devotion towards their husbands.
Dressing Up: Women dress in vibrant red and green attire, adorned with intricate jewelry and mehndi (henna) designs. The colorful clothing symbolizes marital bliss and fertility.
Poojas and Offerings: Women gather in temples to offer prayers and perform rituals dedicated to Goddess Parvati. They seek her blessings for a happy and harmonious married life.
Singing and Dancing: Traditional Teej songs, known as "Teej geet," are sung, and women dance to the rhythmic beats of drums and music. These songs often express the joys and challenges of married life.
Swings and Games: Women often enjoy swinging on beautifully decorated swings, adding an element of playfulness to the celebrations. Various traditional games and activities are also organized.
Exchanging Gifts: Married women exchange gifts and share sweets with each other, strengthening the bonds of sisterhood and camaraderie.
Ritual of Lighting Oil Lamps: In the evening, women light oil lamps and place them on leaves in a decorative pattern. This ritual signifies the triumph of light over darkness.
Teej festival is a beautiful amalgamation of tradition, devotion, and joy. It is a time for married women to reflect on the importance of their marital relationships, while also reveling in the company of fellow women. As the festival continues to be celebrated with enthusiasm, it serves as a reminder of the enduring power of love, devotion, and unity in marriage.