The Hindu months of Saawan and Bhadrapada correspond to the Gregorian months of July, August and September. It is in these months that the two important festivals – Teej and Rakhi are celebrated with gusto in various parts of India.
With the onset of monsoon, the smell of petrichor emanates from the earth and the downpour of rain, lifts the heart with joy. There’s greenery everywhere and nature shines in all its glory.
This is also a period that is marked by the fasting of women who worship Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva to grant them the boon of marital bliss.
Teej is actually celebrated in three forms: Hariyali Teej, Kajari Teej, Haritalika Teej and is celebrated with enthusiasm by both married and unmarried women.
1. Hariyali Teej or Choti Teej (Saturday, 3rd August 2019)
Hariyali Teej is associated with the bounty of nature and the greenery that livens up the earth after the sweltering heat. It is observed on the third day of the Lunar month, Shraavana.
Hariyali Teej is an extremely important festival for newlyweds. The parents gift their daughter and her in-laws’ gifts and sweets called Sindhara.
The gift contains ghewar, jewellery, homemade sweets, henna and bangles. Folk songs, dances, fairs and swings all set the mood for festivity and fervour.
Dressed in green, women perform special pooja for Goddess Parvati and she, as Teej Mata, is then taken on a special procession on the streets. The mood is jubilant and laughter reverberates the air.
2. Kajari Teej or Badi Teej (Sunday, 18th August 2019)
The Kajari Teej falls 15 days after Hariyali Teej. the festival is not observed pan-India but mainly in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh where people celebrate the advent of monsoon.
Adorned in flower jewellery and looking stunning in new clothes, women swing on jhoolas and apply mehendi. On this specific day, they observe a strict fast.
3. Haritalika Teej (Sunday, 1st September 2019)
The celebrations for Hartalika Teej continue for three days in the month of Bhadrapada. Obeisance is made to Goddess Parvati who is honoured for her devotion to Lord Shiva.
The festival of Teej is marked by flowers, colours, songs, henna and swings. When we think of Teej, we think of mehendi, flowers, Bandhini dupattas, bangles and ghewar. There’s glee and joyous spirit around.
Women dress in beautiful sarees and invoke their childlike spirit by singing songs and swinging on jhoolas hung from trees.
Let’s have fun this Teej!
1. Adorn your hair with fresh flowers.
2. Wear a bijouterie of flowers. The market is filled with all kinds of colours of flowers. Make or buy floral jewellery and deck yourself with floral cummerbund, mang tika, necklace, earrings and rings.
3. Add hues to your traditional outfits. Teej is a festival of happiness and it reflects in the vibrant colours you wear.
4. Wear coloured bangles and apply henna on your hands and feet.
5. Use energetic, fun colours, like fuchsia, orange, green, yellow and purple in the decor. Arrange cushions in sparkling colours or dress the area in yardage of bright fabrics or Badhini dupattas that liven up the ambience.
6. Hang strings of marigold in yellows and orange or decorate the entrance with a beautiful rangoli using flowers and colours.
7. We all like to be treated like a princess. Keeping in mind that Teej is the “festival of swings”, adorn your jhoola with flowers.
8. Expecting guests? Treat them special by showering them with flowers as soon as they enter your home. Take hospitality a notch higher by giving them a box of ghewar or a treat bag filled with cookies when they leave.
There are many Mythological stories that talk of the genesis of the festival. According to the mythological legend, Bhavishya Purana, a holy bracelet was given by Lord Vishnu to Indra’s wife Sachi when he was facing tough resistance from the mighty demon king, Bali.
Once she tied the thread to her husband he ultimately defeated the demon and recovered Amravati or Indra Lok.
The Mahabharata also makes mention of Draupadi, the wife of Pandavas tying Rakhi to Lord Krishna and Kunti tying the sacred thread to Abhimanyu before the war ensued.
This gesture was believed to protect them from harm and death. The stories may differ but the reason for celebration is the same – it wishes prosperity, well-being and long life for the one you love.
According to the Hindu Calendar, Raksha Bandhan is an occasion that falls in the month of Shravana and celebrates the deep bond shared between a brother and sister.
The sister ties Rakhi, the auspicious thread, on the right wrist of her brother, feeds him sweets or mithai and prays for his long life. The brother, in turn, gives her a gift – a token of love, and a pledge to protect her for the rest of his life.
The “knot of protection” or the Rakhi have become fancier in recent times. They have themes and cater to different age groups.
For children, there are Disney characters, cartoons, superheroes and foods they love. For adults, the range goes from simple threads costing little to expensive rakhis handcrafter in semi-precious stones, silver, gold and embellished with zardozi and hand embroidery.
Whichever thread you pick has one thing in common and that is love – the true bond which the festival of Rakhi celebrates.