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Wedding » Indian-customs » Teej-040816
 
Teej - The festival of swings

Shiv Parvati The sweet sound of rain falling on parched land, the smell of wet soil, peacocks dancing in full glory and young girls giggling and swinging to music. Aha! Monsoon has arrived. And what better way to celebrate than with the festival of Teej.

Celebrated in the month of Shravan (August), this swing festival welcomes the advent of the monsoon. The festival is also dedicated to Goddess Parvati and commemorates the day when she was united with Lord Shiva after a penance of a hundred years - making them a symbol of an ideal marriage. It is believed that invocation of Parvati's blessings on this day results in continued marital bliss.

Shravan celebrations
Basically a woman's festival, Teej falls on the third day of the bright fortnight of the month of Shravan (July-August). The city of Jaipur, Rajasthan celebrates the festival with great pomp and show. The images of Parvati or Teej Mata are bedecked in new clothes and jewellery and worshipped. The images are then taken out in ceremonial processions escorted by caparisoned elephants, camels and horse drawn chariots, as the bride Parvati leaves her parent's home for her husband's. The devotees surge to catch a glimpse of the deity and seek blessings. The celebrations also include games and competitions such as the turban-tying competition and the bangle wearing competition.

Swings are hung from trees and decorated with flowers. Young girls and women, colourfully attired, swing on them and sing songs in praise of the Goddess and the monsoon. They decorate their hands and feet with henna in delicate designs. The popular belief is that darker the henna the more a man loves his woman.

MarwarisAs per Rajasthani tradition, girls engaged to be married receive gifts such as clothes, henna, lac bangles and sweets from their future in-laws and married women, from their parents and in-laws. Married women get gifts such as a green sari or salwar kurta and some jewellery.

Marwaris also have a custom called 'sindhara' where the girls of the house are pampered with good food, lots of music, gifts and mehendi is applied on their hands and feet. It's a simple but joyful way of making the womenfolk feel special.

Bundi Teej or Kajli Teej
Kajli Teej of Bundi is different in several ways from the Shravan Teej celebrated widely. The main difference is that while Shravan Teej is celebrated on the third day of the month of Shravana, in Bundi it is celebrated on the third day of the month of Bhadra.

The Kajli Teej festival starts with the procession of goddess Teej in a decorated palanquin from the beautiful naval Sagar in Bundi. It passes through the main bazaars and terminates at Azad Park. The procession has decorated elephants, camels, bands, performing artists and colourfully dressed people.

The people who gather here from surrounding areas also get to watch and participate in the cultural programmes that are organised in the evenings. It provides a very good chance to see performances by local artists from the Hadoti region. Though the main function of Teej is held only on two days, the celebrations continue upto Janmashtami, which marks the birth of Lord Krishna.

Ghevar & Choorma
Ghevar & ChoormaWhat festival is complete without mouth-watering food? A favorite during Teej is Ghevar, a crunchy orange honeycomb like disc made from cottage cheese. Probably the best known Ghevar is made in Jaipur in a sweet shop called Lakshmi Mishtan Bhandar. The shop is said to have operated from the same premises since the 18th century. Choorma is roasted flour mixed with sugar. When eaten with daal (lentils) it is gourmet at its best.

Pooja Mittal-Aggarwal
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