Celebrating Teej in Nepal
Teej is the most famous festival among women in Nepal, and it is also celebrated in Northern and Western India. The celebration symbolizes the reunion of Shiva and his wife Parvati.
The celebration generally falls in late August or early September. It is celebrated by the Hindu women for 3 days. The women pray for Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati for marital bliss. They also pray for the long life of their husbands and a happy relationship between them until their death and then for all the life which comes afterwards. They also pray for their children and the purification of the body and soul.
It is believed the name comes from a small red insect which is comes out of the soil at monsoon season ( hence the ladies dressing up in red). The streets are flooded with women of all ages. They sing and dance on the streets to folk music, meet their friends and tell stories. They also colour their hands with henna.
The three day celebration starts with a big feast in the evening on the first day which follows a 24 hours fasting and then on the third day another big feast. The main day is on the second day when women fast for 24 hours and all the celebrations happen on the streets.
Married women take a full day fast for their husband, unmarried women and girls also take fast and pray to get a nice husband. More rigorous women don’t even drink water all day although some women are more relaxed and will eat fruit and drink water.
Fasting is involved in this celebration as according to myths, Parvati rigorously fasted for 108 years to prove her love for Shiva, before he accepted her as his wife. Teej is celebrated in honour Parvati’s devotion.
Most ladies in Kathmandu cue up for many hours to get into the main temple in Pashupatmatinah – which is the most sacred Hindu place in Kathmandu.
Pashupatmatinah is a sacred complex which includes 518 temples and monuments. It is also part of the Unesco World Heritage site since 1979.