India is a country of many diverse cultures, fascinating traditions, and interesting diversity. Some of these traditions and festivals have survived for generations and still exist today.
A festival celebrated in India's Northern states, is one example. This all-women festival, called Teej, is where married and unmarried women celebrate Goddess Parvati's blessings. It is observed in the Hindu month Bhadrapada, on the Tritiya (the 3 rd day) of the Shukla Paksha (waning moon phase). Hartalika Teej, Hariyali Teej, and Kajari Teej are the other two Teej festivals that are celebrated during this time.
Every year, the month of July to August is celebrated as the Teej festival. This festival is celebrated by married and unmarried women. They pray and observe teejvrat, or fasting. Hartalika Teej is similar in concept to Karva Chauth, another traditional festival.
What is the significance of Teej?
This festival, like other Indian festivals, has a fascinating story. Let's now look at the tale of Teej, or as they call it, "Teej Vrat Ki Katha". Hartalika is a combination of 'Harat' (which means abduction) and 'Aalika (which means female friend).
According to spiritual legends, Goddess Parvati practiced severe austerity on the banks of Ganga. This was done to get Lord Shiva as her husband. Lord Shiva, however, was not aware of her as an ascetic.
Himalaya, her father, was worried about her condition. At Maharishi Narad's suggestion, he offered his hand in marriage to Lord Vishnu. Goddess Parvati shared this with her friend, who decided to abduct her to save her marriage.
Goddess Parvati was taken into a thick forest, where she performed penance and devoted herself to Lord Shiva for many years. Lord Shiva finally noticed her devotion. He appeared in his divine form before her and offered to marry her.
Since then, Goddess Parvati was worshipped as Hartalika Teej. Hartalika Teej is celebrated in her memory for her devotion and penance.
What is Hartalika Teej Festival celebrated?
Teej Vrat is a day when married and unmarried women fast for a happy marriage and a loving husband. Some women observe Nirjala Vat (fasting without water). Women celebrate Haryali Teej or Kajari Teej at their parents' houses, but they return to their in-laws to celebrate Hartalika Teej.
For puja, women gather in a nearby garden or temple. The women form a semicircle and place an idol of Goddess Parvati in the middle. The Hartalika Puja starts with holy offerings of sweets, fruits, and flowers while the ladies all narrate the holy Teej Katha. . Women must also light a mud Diya, which should be lit throughout the night. Teej Vrat is also a time when young brahmins and girls are offered food. The significance of Teej is not only understood in the northern Indian states (Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan Madhya Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh), but also in Maharashtra and the southern regions of India. Hartalika Teej is celebrated in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh as Gowri Habba. Women in Maharashtra perform Hartalika Puja, observe Teej Vrat, and also conduct Hartalika Puja. They also wear green clothes, green bindis, and green bangles.
The Teej festival, just like other festivals, brings people together and spreads love. It is one of the most anticipated festivals, and the significance of Teej has been understood by all women across India.