Teej festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion by the women in India. Since Teej fall at the outbreak of the monsoons, it is also popularly known as the 'Sawan Festival'. Teej is usually celebrated in the month of July-August. Festival of Teej is dedicated to the divine couple - Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Though Teej is celebrated at various places in India and abroad, major Teej celebrations takes place in the highly cultural city of Jaipur. Here day-long processions and celebrations create a vivid atmosphere.
The three types of Teej Festival are:
Hariyali Teej: Hariyali Teej falls in the Shukla Paksha of Shravana. On this day, women worship moon with milk, curd and flowers.
Kajari Teej: It falls on Krishna Paksh Tritiiya. On this day, women sing and dance and perform sacred pooja of neem.
Hartalika Teej: Hartalika Teej falls on the third day of the first fortnight of the month of 'Bhadra'. At the time of Hartalika Teej, women keep 'Nirjala Vrat' for well - being of her husband.
Importance of Teej Festival
Teej festival is an important festival. Two very vital factors govern its celebration. One is that it is a monsoon festival and the other relates to the most popular legend of Shiva-Parvati.
Legend of Teej
According to Hindu mythology, in the month of Shravan, Goddess Parvati reunited with Lord Shiva after a penance of hundred years. In her 108th birth, Lord Shiva realized her devotion for him and accepted her as his wife. This legend is said to be the basis of Teej celebrations.
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Sawan FestivalTeej Festival heralds the beginning of monsoon season. It is celebrated in the month of Shravan which brings a great relief from the scorching heat of summers. Teej has special importance in the state of Rajasthan as it is celebrated in the rainy season which transforms the dry-parched lands of Rajasthan totally green. Teej becomes more auspicious and special if it rains on this day. With the arrival of monsoon, peacocks come out to dance while women enjoy themselves by swinging and dancing in the rain.Teej Rituals
At the time of Teej, certain rituals and customs are followed by women so as to be blessed by Goddess Parvati. Married women return back to their parents house to celebrate the festival of Teej. It is considered very auspicious for married and engaged women to receive Teej gifts from their parents-in-law and to be parents-in-law. Future in-laws of engaged girls gift them 'Shrinjhara' (a gift pack) which consists of henna, lac bangles, a special laheria dress and ghewar (a sweet dish). Other gifts are also received by women from their relatives and in-laws.
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Applying henna to one's hands and feet is a special and most beautiful tradition of Teej. Special Mehndi designs are applied to match the mood of the festival. Women can be seen in the markets getting their palms decorated with henna. It is said, "the darker the henna, the more a woman is loved by her husband and in-laws". Sometimes, women also hide name of their husband in the mehndi design which later becomes part of the search game. Husbands search out their name and gift something to their beloved wife.Tradition of Adorning Oneself
Women wear colorful clothes and gold-diamond jewelry to look like a new bride at the time of Teej. Some women even visit beauty parlors to look different on the special occasion of Teej. Many women especially the newly weds wear their wedding dress on the day. Most prominent colors of Teej are red, pink and green.
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Another important ritual is to worship Nyagrodha tree or Vat Vriksha.The tree is considered highly auspicious with its hanging branches reflecting knowledge. Women tie swings to the Vat Vriksha and dance while enjoying the showers of rain.
Tradition of Teej Fasting
Women both married and unmarried observe Teej fast in which they do not even take a sip of water. They keep a 24-hour long fast as it is believed that the invocation of Parvati's blessings on this day results in continued marital bliss.
Charmingly decorated idol of Goddess Parvati is kept at the center of the place where women gather to offer Teej prayers. Different Teej songs are sung praising Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Women dance merrily on various Teej and sawan songs and enjoy the festive mood.
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Teej is celebrated with extreme joy and craze in Rajasthan. Many tourists flock the princely state to be part of Teej celebrations. A few days before the festival, the image of Goddess Parvati is repainted and beautifully decorated with fine clothes and jewelry. Idol of Teej Mata is taken out in the special Teej procession. Thousands of devotees wait on streets for hours to have a glimpse of Parvati Ma.
Number of artists like folk singers, dancers and other performers follow the Teej procession and becomes the main attraction. Apart from this, there are caparisoned elephants, bullock carts, and chariots.
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Teej Regional Celebrations