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Haryali Teej(5th August 2016)

Shravan Teej falls on the third day of the shukla paksha of Shravan month (monsoon). As the monsoon brings foliage and greenery all around, this day is also known as Haryali Teej. This day is of great significance in the life of Hindu women and is celebrated with much devotion and enthusiasm, mainly in North Indian states such as Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. On this pious occasion, married women observe Nirjala fast for long life and good health of their husbands and unmarried girls observe fast for being blessed with a life partner as heroic as Lord Shiva.

RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE

As per Shastras, Goddess Parvati took birth in the human form to unite with Lord Shiva as Sati, the daughter of King Prajapati Daksh. King Prajapati Daksh was a haughty king and did not approve the union of his daughter with Shiva; hence, he distanced himself from both of them. One day, he organized a Grand Holy procession at his palace and invited all the Gods except Lord Shiva and Sati. The love and respect for her father couldn’t stop Sati from attending this auspicious puja at her father’s palace. However, to add to her disappointment, during the procession Daksh insulted Lord Shiva to an extent that Sati could no longer contain her anger and burnt herself alive in the self-imposed yagna. This incident left Lord Shiva heartbroken and He went into penance.

Although, Sati took re-birth as Goddess Parvati to reunite with Lord Shiva, the penance hardened the Almighty to such an extent that He refused to acknowledge Devi Parvati. It was then that Goddess Parvati offered empty-stomach prayers to Lord Shiva for hundreds of years. Her boundless efforts and prayers finally melted Lord Shiva’s heart and He accepted Goddess Parvati as His consort. Since then, this day is marked as Haryali Teej, the day when the Almighty and Goddess reunited.

A DAY OF CELEBRATION FOR WOMEN

On this day, women keep a day long fast and offer prayers to Goddess Parvati to invoke the Divine Mother’s blessings for the well-being of their husbands and have a blissful married life. Women clad themselves in beautiful colorful sarees, especially green, and adorn themselves with jewelry. The father-in-laws gift them a Shrinjhara basket made of henna, bangles, vermillion, Ghewar etc., and women visit their parents’ home to seek blessings. The day is celebrated with a lot of singing and dancing in unison.

RITUALS PERFORMED

  • Women keep Nirjala fast (devoid of water) for 24 hours and worship Goddess Parvati with utmost devotion and faith.
  • Women use all the items gifted in Shrinjhara for adornment.
  • Beautifying hands and feet with mehandi and alta is an important ritual on this day. Some women also hide the name of their lovers in mehandi designs and let their husbands find their names.
  • Women in some regions keep a lamp (diya) illuminated for the entire night. An extinguished diya during the night is considered a bad omen.
  • Idols of Goddess Parvati are decorated with intricate jewelry and clothes, and later teej katha is read aloud while women worship Devi Parvati.
  • Swings decorated with flowers are hung in the garden and women merrily swing and sing traditional Teej songs.
  • Some people also organize jagrans (night long prayers) for marital bliss and happy life.

Every year, with Teej comes a lot of vibrancy and enthusiasm in a women’s life. It is not just the celebration of an everlasting bond of matrimony; it is the devotion and dedication of a woman towards her family.

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