The festival of Hartalika Teej is observed in the month of Bhadrapada or Bhaadra month. It is a major festival celebrated by women in several states of India mainly in Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra. The Vrat or the fast of Hartalika Teej is observed by both unmarried and married women hoping to get good husbands. The festival commemorates the union of Goddesses Parvati and Lord Shiva. According to Hindu Mythology, Parvati was in love with Lord Shiva and performed long years of penance in the foot of Himalayas after which Lord Shiva took notice of her. Realizing her strong love and devotion for him, Lord Shiva agreed to marry her. Hartalika Teej fast is dedicated to Mata Parvati and observed by unmarried women with an aim to get husband like her. Married women go for Nirjala Vrat for marital bliss.
Teej in other Indian states
Traditionally Teej is celebrated mainly in Rajasthan, Punajab and Haryana but now it is also observed in several other parts of India including delhi, NCR, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. A day before the festival is celebrated as Sinjara where women put mehendi in their hand and eat ghewaand. Hartalika Teej is a major festival amongst the Marwari and the Baniya community. Women of these communities wear new clothes along with bangles and bindis. It is specially a celebration for the young girls. It is customary for mother-in-law to give the newly wed daughter-in-law a piece of jewelry on her first teej after marriage. In Delhi several sari and suits exhibition are organized for women to buy clothing for the festival of Teej.
Teej Customs and Rituals
Certain customs and rituals are followed during the festival of Hartalika Teej so as to be blessed by Mata Parvati. Married women return to their parent’s house to celebrate the festival. It is considered auspicious to receive gifts for women on Teek festival. Married women receive gifts from their parents-in-law and engaged women receive gifts from to be parents-in-law. Future in-laws of engaged girls offer gifts in form of ‘Shrinjhara’ (a gift pack) that consists of henna, lac bangles, a special laheria dress and ghewar (a sweet dish). Women also receive gifts from other relatives and in-laws.
Tradition to Adorn Oneself
Women adorn themselves with new colorful clothes and gold or diamond jewelry like a new bride. Women also visit beauty parlors in order to look gorgeous on this auspicious day. Newly wed women also wear their wedding dress on this day. Red, pink and green are the prominent colors of Teej.
The custom of fasting forms an integral part of the Hartalika Teej festival. Moth unmarried and married women observe ‘neerjala’ fast in which they do not even take a sip of water. They totally restrict themselves from food and water for full 24 hours. It is quite tough and needs lot of patience. The holy fast is observed to receive blessings from Goddesses Parvati for a blissful married life.
Tradition of Lighting a Lamp
An oil lamp forms a very important part of the Hartalika Teej festival. As per the ritual of Teej fasting, women should keep an oil lamp lit all the night. It is considered to be bad women if the oil lamp dies away.
Legends behind Teej
Teej is a major festival of women celebrated every year in the month of July-August. Women show their devotion towards their husband or to-be-husbands. They adorn themselves with clothes and jewelry and pray for long life of their husband. Though Teej celebrates the advent of monsoon but one of the popular legend of Goddess Parvati led to the celebration of Teej.
Legend of Goddess Parvati
The celebrations of Teej originated from the legend Parvati. Hindu Mythology states that she went through penance or hard-core tapasya and took 108 births on earth. The myth also states that till 107 birth she could not get Shiva as her husband. In her 108 birth Lord Shiva realized her love and married her. It is said that Mata Parvati declared this day as auspicious for womenfolk and proclaimed that whoever will perform puja on this day will be blessed with happy married life. Women observe nirjala fast which is symbolic to the penance that Mata Parvati performed.