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Teej 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.
Falling on the Hindu month of Shravan (August), it also celebrates the arrival of monsoon after a season of oppressive heat.
Teej is the festival of swings. It marks the advent of the monsoon. The monsoon rains fall on the parched land and the pleasing scent of the wet soil enveloped the air. Swings are hung from trees and women dressed in colourful clothes sing songs. This festival is dedicated to the Goddess Parvati, commemorating her union with Lord Shiva. Goddess Parvati is worshipped by seekers of conjugal bliss and happiness. Processions are also taken out on the festive occasion. The Teej idol is covered with a canopy.
Teej is celebrated in many parts of Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan and Bihar. A day before Teej is celebrated as Sinjara wherein girls/ladies put on mehandi on their hands and eat ghewar/feni 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.
Swings are put on trees for the entertainment of young girls. Teej festival is meant as a celebration for women especially young girls. Girls are given new clothes. It is the traditional women’s day. It is customary for mothers-in-law to give the newly married daughter-in-law a piece of jewellery on her first Teej after marriage.
Traditionally daughters-in-law would go to their mothers house for Teej and come back after Rakhi, in this way they would spend about 10 days with their parents.
Daughters spend Teej with their parents and after they come back they spend Buddhi Teej which is Teej for the daughters-in-law in their marital home. Buddhi Teej normally falls within a week after Rakhi.
Teej in Nepal
The first day of Teej is called the ‘Dar Khane Din’. On this day the women, both married and unmarried, assembled at one place, in their finest attires and start dancing and singing devotional songs. A grand feast also takes place. The jovility 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 water while others take liquid and fruit. On this day, in their finest active, women visited nearby Shiva temple singing and dancing on the way. The Pashupatinath temple gets the highest number of devotees. At the Shiva temple, women offered prayers to the Lingam, the symbol of the lord, offering flowers, sweets and coins. The main pooja takes place with offerings of flowers, fruits etc made to Shiva and Parvati. The important part of the puja is the oil lamp which should be alight throughout the night and it is bad omen if it did not.
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.

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