Teej ko lahara aayo bari lai - a famous saying in Nepali which translates to Teej has arrived in all its glory.
Teej is celebrated in Nepal and parts of India during the monsoon season. Teej is celebrated to appreciate the generosity of nature and rain. The literal meaning of “Teej" refers to the third day after the new moon (Amavasya), and the third day after the full moon night of every month. There are three different types of Teej, Hariyali Teej, Kajari Teej, and Hartalika Teej.
In Nepal, women observe Haritalika Teej by praying to Goddess Parvati, seeking the wellness of their husbands, children and their self. Haritalika Teej comes with the story of how Goddess Parvati fasts and prays for many years to get Lord Shiva as her husband. Inspired by Goddess Parvati’s determination, both married women and unmarried girls fast for 24 hours to be blessed by Goddess Parvati.
Teej is observed with activities like taking a bath early in the morning and going to nearby temples for puja. Women sing and dance inside the grounds of different temples throughout the day. The temple of Pashupatinath gets flocked by the highest number of devotees. Women circumambulate various idols of gods that symbolize Lord Shiva. The main puja takes place with flowers, fruits, etc. offered to Shiva and his consort Goddess Parvati. Women fast for 24 hours without drinking even a single drop of water. Fulfillment of this strict fasting is believed to bless unmarried women with a good husband, and the husband’s longevity and prosperity for married women. The day concludes with an important part of the puja where an oil lamp is kept alight throughout the night. It is believed that this light will bring peace and prosperity to the husband and family.
Teej is a part of a three-day celebration. Teej is preceded by Dar Khaney Din, scheduled as an enormous feasting day, lasting until midnight, after which a strict 24-hour fasting starts. And the celebrations continue to the third day, Rishi Panchami. After completing the puja of the previous day, women worship Sapta Rishis (seven sages). On the day of Rishi Panchami, women take a sacred bath in a nearby river with red mud found on the roots of sacred Datiwan bush. They bite 365 pieces of the sacred plant’s stem early in the morning and purify themselves. They believe that performing this ritual will rid women of all the past sins.