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Haritalika Teej

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Haritalika Teej

The first day of Teej is known as the ‘Dar Khane Din’ on which women - both married and unmarried - assemble in their finest red garments and sing devotional songs and dance to a frenzy. A grand feast consisting of sumptuous delicacies & local fares is held on this day. Females eat to their hearts content highly nutritious food because the following day is a day of complete fasting to please the gods so the gods may enhance the prosperity of their husbands & bless the unmarried ones with loving partners…

The second day is a day of fasting. Some women undertake fasting without a single morsel of food or even a drop of water, but most women eat something - fruits, for example, and drink fluids.
This is the day of the main ritual which is held in most Shiva temples. Most worship activities take place in the Pashupatinath Temple, where women walk around the Shiva lingam offering flowers, sweets and money. Shiva and Parvati are worshipped so that their blessings may allow the family to flourish. The oil diya (lamp) plays an important role in the puja - it must be kept burning throughout the night because it is considered a bad omen if the light dies out.

The third day is known as Rishi Panchami. After devotional rituals of the previous day, women pay homage to various gods and goddesses and bathe in the holy red mud that is found at the base of the ‘Datiwan’ bush. This act apparently absolves women of all sins and is the last ritual of Teej.

To go by Hindu mythology, Goddess Parvati obtained Lord Shiva as her groom after doing penance through several stages of her life. In her 108th life, finally Lord Shiva recognized her devotion for him and accepted her as his wife. This story has become the base for the foundation of this festival.

If your travel to Nepal coincides during the Teej festival, its common to see groups of women and girls, all dressed in red saris and blouses singing and dancing almost everywhere. If you are in Kathmandu, the most extravagant sight today will be the temple premises of Pashupatinath. This is ONE DAY IN THE YEAR WHEN THE ANCIENT VALLEY OF KATHMANDU GOES…RED, VIRTUALLY!!! It’s a day that literally grips your emotional senses…Teej is celebrated as a public holiday in Nepal.

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