In Nepal, the women celebrated Teej sumptuous celebrations, strict fasting and prayers. Also known as the feast of fasting for women, Hindu women on this day fast for spousal bliss and cleansing of body and soul. Prayers are also given for the well-being of their husbands and children.
The origins of the feast can be traced back to a popular history in Hindu mythology in which the goddess Parvati fasted and prayed to please Lord Shiva in matrimony. Touched by his devotion and devotion, he accepted her as his spouse. The goddess Parvati, in real obedience and gratitude, would have sent her envoy to preach the values of prayer and fasting for women. These rituals promise long life and prosperity, according to the Hindu writings.
This three-day festival starts with a gathering of unmarried and married women who dress in their best clothes, dance and sing devotional songs. A feast followed, and then a twenty-four hour fast. Some women take fasting more seriously and go without food and water for the whole time of fasting.
The women who dance and sing in the streets of Nepal are a common spectacle, which usually ends at one of the numerous temples of Shiva found in the region. In Kathmandu, the Pashupatinath temple is the hub of Teej activities where women make an offering to Lord Shiva in order to seek blessings in matrimonial relationships and the welfare of their families.
The third day of the festival is called "Rishi Panchami" where women pay homage to various deities and bathe with red mud found on the roots of the sacred Datiwan bush. This is the last act of purification after which women are considered pure and liberated from their sins.
I am deeply religious and uplifted with a profound sense of faith and spirituality, this festival has a special meaning for me. It also brings good memories of times when my sisters and I used to sing and dance and sometimes run away to the neighboring Shiva Temple ignoring our guardians. Such is the dynamic of the holiday itself for girls and children.
Now Teej's changed my belief in love. I can see the love in the leaves, in the sky and in the sea and all that surrounds me. It is as infinite as my imagination and makes me feel special and romantic as the goddesses in ancient Hindu mythologies.
Love is the ultimate truth and especially what I can think of. Loving and feeling loved is the backbone of Teej. Whereas for many who have suffered, this seems remote, but they still cling to the message of faith and hope that the festival projects.
Unfortunately, lately there have been a lot of changes in Teej rituals and practices. However, its essence and flavor continue. I have my mother's sari on today. I'm excited to dance today.