Teej refers to a group of festivals that are observed to celebrate the onset of Monsoon, after the scorching summer. There are three Teej festivals – the Hariyali Teej, the Kajari Teej and the Hartalika Teej. The term ‘Hariyali’ means ‘greenery’, and ‘Teej’ means the ‘third’ day.
Hariyali Teej is the festival that marks the onset of growth, prosperity, and greenery all around, after the dry days of summer. It is the celebration of nature and its abundance. The festivals are dedicated to the union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
Women celebrate Teej by singing and dancing and dressing in bright-colored clothes. It commemorates women and their giving birth to children. The celebration of monsoon showers after the scorching summer, leading to the Earth getting covered with green foliage symbolizes fertility and the giving birth to offspring. Hariyali Teej is also known as Sawan Teej, Sharavana Teej or Choti Teej. It is celebrated in the northern states of the country, like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, and Jharkhand. The day is celebrated by organizing cultural fairs and processions for the Goddess Parvati. The festival holds great significance to married women as it represents fertility, beauty, and charm of mutual love and affection. This festival is also a great example of the significance of women in the Vedic culture.
When is Hariyali Teej 2021?
The 2021 Hariyali Teej festival falls on Wednesday, August 11.
It is the third day of the Shukla Paksha, during Shravan Month.
Hariyali Teej Tradition
Hariyali Teej traditions hold utmost importance for newly married women. On the day prior, Sindhara is celebrated. Sindhara is regarded as baggage of gifts that are given by the parents to their daughter and her in-laws. It comprises various things such as bangles, henna, and sweets among others. Girls apply henna on each other’s palms. The intricate patterns and designs symbolize the web of life that connects all of them. It is believed that on this day, every woman who applies Mehendi in her hands gets blessed with good luck, and doing so is also considered extremely auspicious. It is a popular belief that the color of Mehendi on the hands tells about the love showered by husbands. Darker the color of the henna on the hand, the more she will be loved by her fiancé or husband.
Applying Alta, a red dye, on the feet is symbolic of the sacred nuptial bonds. On the day of Hariyali Teej, women touch the feet of their mothers-in-law to take their blessings. In case the mother-in-law is not present, the eldest sister-in-law from the husband’s side or any other elderly lady in the family takes the place. The womenfolk in the family put on their best clothes and jewelry and engage in the worship of Goddess Parvati. Hariyali Teej is celebrated by swinging and playing in the green fields. In most places, swings are hung on the branches of the Banyan tree or Vat Vriksha. The Banyan tree is considered sacred and its hanging branches are supposed to reflect knowledge. Folk songs are sung and the women dance to its tunes.
Hariyali Teej Puja Vidhi
On the day of Hariyali Teej women worship and celebrate the union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati to gain maximum blessings in married life. On this day, the house is properly cleaned and sanitized then decorated with ornamental flowers. An earthen altar is made on which the idols of Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha, Goddess Parvati, and a Shiv Lingam are placed. Idols of other gods are also placed as per the discretion of the devotee. After this, Shodash Upchar, or a sixteen-step ritual, is performed for the deities. The Puja activities go on for the whole night. Women stay awake at this time and engage in devotional music and chanting. Devotees who are keeping fast on Hariyali Teej should not get angry or raise their voices. Women should preferably wear green clothes and bangles. The color green is considered a symbol of happiness, prosperity, growth, longevity, and good health. Women should refrain from lying, humiliating others, or being unfaithful.
On the day of Hariyali Teej, women observe a strict fast known as ‘Nirjala Vrat’, where they do not consume food or water for the whole day. The vrat can be observed both by married and unmarried women. Married women observe the fast to be blessed with prosperity, peace, and longevity of their family and husband. Unmarried women observe the fast with the hope of finding a good husband and enjoying a happy married life. The vrat is completed after 24 hours, following which women can consume water after having performed all the rituals of the Hariyali Teej Puja and Vrat. Women also worship the Moon on the occasion by offering food, curd, milk, and sweets. Some people celebrate the love between Lord Krishna and Radha on this day.
Hariyali Teej Ancient history
Hariyali Teej commemorates the love and sacred union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The festival celebrates the love between the divine couple, and also the fertile bond that exists between the two. It is said Parvati took 107 births to get Lord Shiva as her husband. In her 108th birth, she observed great penance. During this time, she gave up everything and spent her days chewing up dried leaves. However, Lord Shiva’s discipline and his desire for abstinence blinded him from seeing Parvati’s devotion towards him. Goddess Parvati realized that to gain Lord Shiva’s attention, she would have to prove her love to him. She embarked on the treacherous journey to the Himalayas and chose a cave where she remained completely absorbed in her devotion to Lord Shiva. She became oblivious to the weather and the passage of time.
Goddess Parvati carved a Shiva Lingam with mere sand and directed her devotion to Lord Shiva. Pleased with her devotion, Lord Shiva appeared before her and fulfilled her wish. Lord Shiva accepted Goddess Parvati as his wife on the third day of the Shukla Paksha of Shravan month, as a result of the fast she had observed and rituals she had carried out during the day. Since then, any woman performing this fast with full devotion is believed to attain desired fruits and blessings of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.