Teej Puja is a vital part of Teej celebration. Women, both married and unmarried, start preparing for the final puja well in advance. The verve, enthusiasm and devotion is apparent on their face. On the puja day, women wear new and beautiful clothes. This is the day to look best of all. Teej Puja is not a very long affair. Women read aloud the Teej Katha and offer their worship to Goddess Parvati.
Lot of activities and rituals are performed at the time of Teej Puja. Attired in traditional sarees and lehangas, women congregate in a temple to worship Parvati Maa, who took 108 births to reunite with Lord Shiva. On this day, idol of Goddess Parvati is bedecked with rich silk cloth and heavy jewelry. This day is considered very important as married women and engaged girls observe fast for long and healthy life of their husband and to-be-husband.
Women either gather at a nearby temple or a garden where the puja is arranged. The main puja takes place with holy offerings of flowers, sweets and coins. A semi-circle is created and an idol of Goddess Parvati is kept in the middle. A pujarin or all the ladies together narrate the holy Teej Katha. Young girls also sit to listen the auspicious katha. While listening to the katha, women are expected to put their mind and thoughts towards their soul mate.
When the puja gets over women offer fruits, flowers and other holy items and seek blessings of Goddess Parvati for marital bliss. Another very important part of Teej Puja is the oil lamp which should be kept alight throughout the night as it is bad omen if it dies away.
At some places, after paying homage to Goddess Parvati, women bath with red mud found on the roots of the sacred Datiwan bush. This is an act of purification. It is believed that a woman is absolved from all sins after taking this holy bath.
At the end of the day, women share their happiness and joy by dancing and singing traditional songs in praise of Lord Shiva and her consort Parvati.
SIGNIFICANCE OF TEEJ PUJA
The importance of Teej is mainly two-fold: First, as a festival for women, Teej celebrates the victory of a wife’s love and devotion towards her husband–an important tradition in Hinduism–symbolized by the union of Shiva and Parvati.
Second, Teej ushers in the advent of the monsoons–the season of rains that brings a reason to celebrate as people can take a break from the sweltering heat and enjoy the swing of the monsoon–“Sawankejhooley.” In addition, it’s an occasion for married women to visit their parents and return with gifts for their in-laws and spouse.
Teej, therefore, provides an opportunity to renew family bonds.
On the third day of the bright half of Bhadrapud, Goddess Parvati made a Shiva lingam out of her hair and prayed. Lord Shiva was so impressed that he gave his word to marry Goddess Parvati. Eventually, Goddess Parvati was united with Lord Shiva and was married to him with her father’s blessing. Since then, the day is referred to as haritalikateej as Goddess Parvati’s female (aalika)friend had to abduct (harit) her in order for the Goddess to achieve her goal of marrying Lord Shiva.
Accordingly, Hartalika Teej is seen as a major festival and is celebrated on the third day of the bright half of the North Indian Lunar month of Bhadrapud. The festival women feasting during the evening of HartalikaTeej, praying to Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva, remembering their wedding and staying up all night listening to prayers.The fast (also called nishivasarnirjalavrat) commences during the evening of HartalikaTeej and is broken the next day after a full day’s observance which involves women not even drinking water.The focus is on praying to Goddess Parvati whom Shiva desired should be worshipped under the name Hartalika.
BENEFITS OF TEEJ FESTIVAL
- It is observed that those who observe the fast of teej, lord shiva fulfill all the desires of those devotees.
- This puja has many benefits in the life of women like achieving the love of their husbands and making the life of their husbands secured.
- For unmarried girls too, this fast is beneficial. it blesses them with good husband like lord shiva.