Teej is one of the prominent festivals in India observed by married women. It is celebrated on a grand scale in almost all major parts of the country. This year Teej will be celebrated on Thursday, 23 July(Hariyali Teej 2020). Teej festival is an occasion which honors the love and devotion of Goddess Parvati towards Lord Shiva. It is an event to celebrate, commemorate and adorn one’s marriage.
It is celebrated on the third day or Tritiya after the Shukla Paksha (new moon or full moon day)in Shravan Maas, which is the fifth month of the Hindu calendar. This festival is celebrated on the onset of monsoon in India as is, therefore, also known as Haryali Teej, as monsoon brings greenery everywhere. This day is also referred to as Shravani Teej. This holds almost the same significance to women as “Karwa Chauth”, as they pray for the health and prosperity of their husbands. Let’s look at the legends behind the celebration of the Teej festival;
The word “Teej” literally means “third” and is usually the third day after the full moon or new moon night. Therefore, it is celebrated on the advent of monsoons on the third day after the full moon or new moon night.
According to Hindu mythology, it is believed that Goddess Parvati was a great admirer of Lord Shiva, and had a keen desire to marry him. Goddess Parvati observed fasts and prayed to Lord Shiva for a hundred years so that he becomes happy and that he would marry her. She had 108 births to become a form in which Lord Shiva would accept her. Happy from her dedication, Lord Shiva decided to fulfill her wishes and married her on this day.
Hence, it is believed that celebrating and worshipping Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati on this day will bless a woman with marital bliss, good health of husband and children, and harmony in married life. This auspicious day is to celebrate Goddess Parvati and her true dedication towards Lord Shiva.
While Hindu married women celebrate this festival for the well being of their husbands, the young unmarried girls pray to get a good husband like Lord Shiva. On this day, the women decorate their houses extensively with flowers and lights; they also apply henna on their hands and wear new clothes and traditional jewelry. They worship the Vat, or banyan tree.
Decorated swings are hung on the trees everywhere in the city and the women take turns to swing on them while they sing Teej songs in praise of Goddess Parvati. They also visit the temple, and offer flowers, fruits, coins, and a special prayer is narrated to the women also known as “Teej Vrat Katha”, without which this festival is incomplete. During the Teej puja, a lamp is a light throughout as a symbol of their devotion and dedication to the Gods. At the end of the day, they sing praise to Goddess Parvati and wait for their husbands.
A special sweet is known as “Ghewar” is also prepared during this time. this sweet is only available each year during this time of the Teej festival.
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During monsoons, an insect, which is the Red velvet mite (Trombidium) also known as “Teej” is Hindi appears from the ground. But there is no evidence if the mite is named after the festival or vice versa.