Teej is a festival which is observed by women all over the northern and western states of India with lot of devotion and much fanfare.
Teej is the monsoon festival mostly celebrated by married women for the well being of their family members and husband and by unmarried women for getting a good husband.
It is a festival which includes singing, dancing, telling stories, getting henna or mehendi in hands and wearing colorful clothes in red, green and yellow. Kajari Teej is often also known as Kajali Teej and Badi Teej.
Kajri Teej is celebrated on the third day of the amavas in the Bhadrapada month according to traditional Hindu calendar and as p[er the Gregorian calendar it is observed in the month of August during the dark phase of the moon. Kajari Teej will be held on the 21st of August, Sunday in 2016.
Mythological story behind Kajari Teej
According to mythological stories, there was a dense forest in the central India called Kajali which was ruled by a benevolent and kind ruler called King Dadurai. However after his death, his wife, the beautiful queen Nagamati became a Sati that is burnt her own self to death. People all around the kingdom grieved deeply and the mournful songs are what came to be known as the Kajari songs.
It is also believed that Goddess Parvati performed severe penance before she was accepted by Lord Shiva as his wife, she kept a penance for 108 years, when finally on a Bhadrapada month Lord Shiva accepted her and they got married. Parvati had blessed all the women saying that on this auspicious occasion whoever will pray to her and Lord Shiva will have their wishes fulfilled.
Celebration of Kajari Teej
For the celebration of Kajari Teej, swings are hung from trees as this being a special day, they will spend the day in various playful; and musical activities. Sattu and Pindaras are prepared a day ahead the celebration. Haldi powder or turmeric, mehendi, cucumber, flowers, jiggery, lamp, camphor, incense sticks, money etc are kept aside for offering for the puja.
In the morning devotees in married women take 4 sattu or besan or gram flour laddoos in a plate along with some money. They then do the kalpana, puja and give the same to the mother in law or send it to the temple for puja.
For the evening puja, the women wear the women wear yellow saree with red borders and swing on the make shift swing for 7 times. A branch of a Neem tree is erected on a plate with mud facing east. During the puja un boiled milk and water is poured on this Neem branch known as Neemadi. A song of Neemadi is sung, and after sighting the moon through a sieve puja is offered with kumkum, rice, gram flour etc. kajari songs are also sung on this auspicious occasion.
Delicacies prepared on Kajari Teej
There are many delicacies prepared for this beautiful occasion. Some of them are as follows – a Rajasthani sweet dish called Ghevar, Coconut Laddoo, Badam Ka Halwa etc.
Vibrant festivities of Teej
Teej is associated with gaiety, festivity and happiness. In Bundi in Rajasthan, Teej processions are taken out with the whole city being decorated for the day. A palanquin carried the idol of Devi Parvati along with numerous camels, elephants, folk dancers and musicians. Young girls perform various genres of dance like the Ghoomar, Kalbelia, BHavia etc. peacock dance is also famous on this occasion. Married women fast pray and sing songs for the benefit of their husbands and their families all throughout the night. A lamp is lit which is ensured to burn throughout the night. The married women positively wear Mehendi on that day.
Exchange of various gifts is also an integral part of the Teej festival. Married women are gifted the Sindhara or Shringara containing jewellery, clothes, kumkum, sweets etc by their parents.
Thus women, married and unmarried observe the Kajari Teej with great enthusiasm. The married women pray for the safety and welfare of their husbands, while the unmarried women aspire to have a good husband.