Hartalika Teej - Vrat, Celebrations and Rituals
Teej festival is a significant and popular Hindu festival. Both married women and unmarried girls participate in the festival of Hartalika Teej. The festival is in honour of the divine couple of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It is observed on the third day of Shukla Paksha (fortnight) in Bhadrapada month of Hindu calendar. Women celebrate this festival for marital bliss.
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Why do we celebrate Hartalika Teej?
The celebration of Hartalika Teej is in recognition of the holy bond between Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Parvati found Lord Shiva as her husband on the fortunate day of Hartalika Teej. This is the day that celebrates her exceptional devotion and penance for 108 consecutive births following which Lord Shiva became her partner. For the same reason, the day is considered auspicious for women and girls alike. On the eve of Hartalika Teej, women worship Goddess Parvati to seek her blessings for a successful married life. The statues of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva are made with sand and are worshipped for wellbeing of spouses and blessing for healthy children.
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What is the Story of Hartalika Teej?
Hartalika Teej is famous for the legend associated with it. The term ‘Hartalika’ is a combination of two words ‘Harat’ and ‘Aalika’. ‘Harat’ refers to abduction and ‘Aalika’ means sakhi or female friend. The story goes that Parvati had taken to worshipping Lord Shiva at a very young age. Impressed by her determined effort, Lord Vishnu dispatched his emissary sage Narayana with a proposal seeking her hand in marriage from her father.
However, on learning about this proposal, Paravati was visibly upset. When her friend asked about her disenchantment, she confided in her that her prayers were for Lord Shiva whom she wished to have as her husband. Understanding her predicament, her friend sent Goddess Parvati away in the forest where she remained in hiding and continued praying for Lord Shiva. Finally, Lord Shiva appeared before Goddess Parvati and accepted her as his wife.
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What is the significance of Hartalika Teej?
According to Hindu mythology, the day is regarded as highly auspicious as it is believed those who observe a fast and pray on this day are bestowed with fulfillment of all desires and a great married life.
Hartalika Teej Vrat is widely popular as Gowri Habba in South Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka where the followers seek blessings of Goddess Gowri. Women usually observe the Swarna Gowri Vratha on the eve of Gowri Habba for healthy and happy martial life.
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What are the other Teej festivals?
In the North Indian states, primarily in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, the festival of Hartalika Teej is observed with much fanfare. There are other Teej festivals, which are also celebrated in the month of Bhadrapada and Sawan. These are:
- Hariyali Teej
- Kajari Teej
- Chhoti Teej
- Akha Teej