What can we call a festival with no ritual of preparing a feast with exquisite delicacies? An incomplete one! Festivals in Nepal place great importance on the relation between food and different rituals, one such festival is Teej. A three-day festival, Teej marks a different day for feasting and fasting with an equal amount of excitement in both. Women begin their festival with a feasting day, Dar Khane din.
All the women are ready in Sorha Singaar, to gather for the feast in the evening, and spend time until midnight when the fast begins. Dar khane din is usually one day before the fasting day though now the celebrations begin even a month before Teej. The good part is the feast organized by men of the family. The Dar feast includes a variety of traditional dishes such as kheer (rice pudding), sewai, pulao, sel-roti, and non-vegetarian dishes like chicken, mutton curry, fish, and eggs along with fruits and sweets.
Dar Khane din is a day full of liveliness with women singing songs and dancing to traditional folk songs. Married women visit their maternal homes generally for Dar khane din, making the celebrations more vibrant. In contemporary times, Dar Khane din has become a platform for women who voice concerns and social issues as a community.
Fasting marks the next day. Women celebrating Teej get ready early in the morning in all things red or green – sarees, bangles, bindis, and apply henna. Pashupatinath Temple is a destination for married women to visit and worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati and offer flowers and fruits. There is a special ritual in the evening puja of lighting the Diya with 108 batti in one diya and ensuring that it is alight throughout the night.
Few women observe a strict Nirjala fast with no food or water; while few women allow themselves to have fruits and liquid. Even unmarried women perform the rituals to pray for a good husband. There is a staunch belief among the women in Nepal that fasting will bring prosperity and well-being for the entire family. Celebrations in Nepal do not leave out anything from rituals to customs, singing to dancing and a proper feast.
Get ready to enjoy traditional delicacies like kheer because your festival will only take a few days! Head to foomantra.com and complete your Teej shopping. While you are at it, get few homemade Titaura for you to gorge on the feast day!
Want to know about Gai Jatra also? Learn more here.