Teej is just around the corner
The month of sawan brings an array of festivals. We Indians go crazy for celebrations start gearing up for all the seasonal festivals in monsoon. The holy month of Sawan is of utmost importance in Hindu calendar, especially for the devotees of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Many young girls observe sawan somvaar vrat to seek a good husband. And then comes the festival of teej, a pious day on which most of the married Indian ladies observe vrat and follow rituals for matrimonial bliss.
Back to the days when I was single, my mom used to keep all this vrats and I merely had any interest in following these rituals. But now after being a wife of a typical Brahmin guy, I have become a typical panditayin. Hartalika teej vrat involves the toughest fasting for three continuous days and is observed in the honor of Goddess Parvati. When my mother in law told me about this vrat, I was stunned. I am a big time foodie and the thought of being hungry for 3 whole days was a major challenge but somehow I managed to do it. On this day, married woman are all decked up in new clothes and jewelry and gather around for some songs and bhajans. All my neighbor aunties and their bahus gathered at my place. We applied henna on our hands and played many folklores. Hartalika Teej is the most awaited festival of Indian Ladies and is celebrated with all the excitement and craze.
Significance and Importance
Hartalika teej is celebrated to mark the reunion of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The term hartalika is derived from a Sanskrit word Harat that means abduction and Aalika means friend. Goddess parvati who wanted to marry Lord Shiva was asked to marry Lord Vishnu by her father. Therefore, she asked one of her friends to help her hide in an isolated place in the middle of a dense forest. Thus a friend helped mata parvati by saving her from a marriage she did not want to. Eventually, mata Parvati won Lord Shiva’s heart and both got married. Since then, hartalika teej is celebrated and clay idols of Lord Shiva and mata Parvati are prepared and worshipped. Women pray to the divine couple for a blissful married life and unmarried girls wish for a husband of their choice.
Rules and Celebrations:
The day starts with waking up early in the morning, taking holy bath and wearing new clothes and jewelry. We visited the temple and observed a nirjala fast. My mother in law asked me to take a holy dip again in the evening before sunset and I was dressed just like a bride. We lit the lamps and offer vermillion, sweets and fruits to Goddess Parvati. In the end, we recited the vrat katha to complete the pooja. The next day we woke up early again, took a bath, wore new clothes and did pooja again. After completion of pooja we broke the fast by eating soaked red chickpea. The teej vrat is terminated the next morning after completing the pooja rituals.
Traditional foods of teej:
Like every Indian festival, Teej too is popular for traditional foods like ghevar, balushahi, shakkar para and jalebi.