Haritalika Teej is an all-women festival celebrated in Northern parts of India in the Hindu Solar month of Bhadrapada on the third day of the waning phase of the moon during Hasta Nakshatra. On this day Goddess Gauri or Parvati is worshipped along with Lord Shiva.
Significance of Haritalika Teej
There are three types of Teej festivals celebrated by the womenfolk, one of which is Haritalika Teej. Women fast on this day for the long life of their husbands and for marital bliss and harmony. There are three Teejs in the Hindu religion which are mostly celebrated by women. The first Teej in the sequence is Haryali Teej and almost after one month, Haritalika Teej is celebrated. All the Teej festivals are dedicated to Goddess Parvati and are associated with the married life of the womenfolk they worship Goddess Parvati to seek her blessings for the good health and long life of their husbands and for the marital bliss. Women fast on this day and worship Lord Shiva and Parvati to seek their blessings. They do not consume food and some even do not consume water.
This festival marks the union of Lord Shiva and Parvati and women folk worship the divine couple for a good and happy married life. Haritalika has a special significance. The word Haritalika is made up of two Sanskrit words 'harit’ and ‘alika’. ‘Harit’ means abducted and ‘alika’ means the female friend. It is believed that on this day Goddess Parvati was abducted by her female friend or sakhi to reunite her with Lord Shiva.
The legend associated with Haritalika Teej
It is believed that Himalaya, the father of Goddess Parvati promised her hand to Lord Vishnu for the marriage. On the other hand, Goddess Parvati was fully devoted to Lord Shiva and could not accept anyone else as her husband. She decided to convince her father. Himalaya did not agree with Parvati's proposal of getting married to Shiva as he considered Shiva not suitable for marrying a princess. Parvati was disheartened. She asked one of her close female friends to take her away from the palace of her father as she could not marry anyone else than Shiva. Her friend decided to enact her abduction and take her away from the palace.
She took away Parvati from the palace of her father to the forest on this particular day so that Parvati could be reunited with Shiva. Parvati started a fierce austerity in the forest to please Lord Shiva and to convince him to be her husband.
Rituals performed on Haritalika Teej
The festival is the women festival only. Women observe Nirjala fast or the fast without food or water on this day. They wake up early in the morning and take their bath. They then worship Goddess Parvati who is also called the Teej Mata. They decorate Teej Mata in a beautiful dress. They too wear beautiful dresses which are mainly in green, yellow, orange and red in colours. They wear different ornaments. Bangles are an integral part of their jewellery. They wear bangles in green, orange, red and yellow colours. The married women look their best on this day before starting the puja in the evening. They gather under the tree to perform the puja. They sit in a circle and the panditain, the women priest, narrate the Katha of Haritalika Teej to the women. After the Katha, women offer fruits, bangles, clothes etc to goddess Parvati which are taken by the panditain. All married women pray for the longevity of their husbands and unmarried girls pray for a good life partner for themselves. After offering arghya to the moon the women eat food and drink water. This festival celebrates the divine bond of love between husband and wife.