August 21, 2016: Teej is one of the most celebrated Hindu festivals of all time and this year, Kajari Teej falls on Sunday, August 21. Celebrated on the third day after a new moon night and the third day after the full moon night, according to Hindu Mythology, Teej is the day of reunion between Goddess Parvati and her husband Lord Shiva, after a long separation.
India is a multi-religion land blended with rich cultural legacy and rituals. The land where each day is a celebration, however, big or small the occasion is. A geographically small but a religiously huge nation, India accommodates all festivities from every walk of life.
The period of Monsoon (or ‘Saawan’ as it is called in Hindi) is considered as an auspicious time by Hindus— from July to September. Festivals like Raksha Bandhan, Ganesh Chaturthi, Krishna Janmashtami, Onam and Teej are celebrated during the rainy days.
It is believed that Parvati had to go through 108 births to finally reunite with Lord Shiva, ‘the destroyer and the preserver.’ Goddess Parvati is considered as the epitome of pious devotion to her husband Lord Shiva. As a result, the festival of Teej is celebrated among Hindu women in hope to be as devoted as Goddess Parvati.
Married and unmarried womenfolk fast for the well-being and long-life of their husband on this day. However, like the festival of Karva Chauth, women hold ceremonies of eating food at 4 am and breaks fast with the food prepared by their mother-in-law. The food, popularly known as ‘sargi’ and is combined with various Hindu ornaments like bangles, red dupattas, kumkum and others.
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The festival of Teej is celebrated in the Northern and Western India, in parts of Nepal, and also observed by women from the Sindhi community. There are three kinds of Teej celebrated during months of Saavan and Bhadrapada: Hariyali Teej, Kajari Teej and Hartalika Teej.
Kajari Teej is also known as Badi Teej, while Hariyali Teej is called Chhoti Teej. It is celebrated fifteen days after Hariyali Teej and five days prior to Krishna Janamashtami and falls in the ‘Krishna Paksha’ of Bhadrapada/Shravana month. Kajari or Kajali Teej is mostly celebrated all over Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat; where women hold fast and worship around holy Neem trees. Women worship the moon and Lord Shiva and break their fast by eating a special sweet called ‘sattu’.
— prepared by Chetna Karnani, at NewsGram. Twitter: @karnani_chetna