Teej: A Joyous Festival of Hindu Nepali Women

Nepal is one of such country where festivals are celebrated with joy and in a very vibrant way. Being a multi-ethnic nation, Nepal celebrates each festival uniquely. One festival can be celebrated with different essence by different ethnic groups.

The culture of Nepal cherishes and respect every relation, they not only worship the God, but they also worship brothers for being the protector of a sister, worship mothers, and fathers, worship dogs for their loyalty and friendship, and worship the husbands as the ultimate pride. And, Teej is the festival for the long- and conjugal life of husband as well as a happy and peaceful relation in the family. No wonder, Teej is full of celebration and fun, also with the increasing awareness among Nepali women, it has become a way to raise their voice for equality. In these recent years, Teej has traditional as well as social importance.  

Teej Festival


What is Teej and its origin?

The name of this festival “Teej” is believed to have come from a small red insect, which only appears in the earth during the period of the monsoon season. So, this festival is named after that particular insect “Teej.”

Talking about the origin of this festival, as per the Hindu legend, Teej is dedicated to the Goddess Parvati for her union with Lord Shiva. Teej is celebrated by Nepali women, as well as girls without eating anything or even drinking water. Married women fast for the long life of her husband and for a happy relationship in the family. Whereas, girls  fast to get a decent and kind husband, just like “Lord Shiva.” It is the most popular festival among the Nepali woman.

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Why is Teej celebrated?

Teej in Nepal is dedicated to the Goddess Parvati, marking her union with Lord Shiva. Teej is celebrated for the well-being of husband, children, and the whole family. Nowadays, Nepali women celebrate this festival as a way to be united and having fun while praying for the well-being of the husband and the entire family. It has also become a way to bring women together of different class and celebrate the festival as one. The celebration of Teej implies the ultimate sacrifice a woman makes for her husband.

As per the legend of Hindu, Goddess Parvati was accepted by Lord Shiva as his wife in her 108th birth, which means Goddess Parvati had to take birth for 108 times and keep unsparing fast in all her life live before being granted by the wish of being Shiva’s wife by Lord Shiva himself. That is why, Goddess Parvati is also known as “Teej Mata,” meaning “Goddess of Teej.”

How is Teej celebrated?

In Nepal, Teej is a three-day festival. However, Teej is celebrated in different ways and in different ways in other countries like India. This festival is celebrated in total three days that combine sumptuous feast as well as rigid fasting where women don’t even drink a drop of water. Teej is celebrated all across the world by Nepali Hindu women. Teej is a vibrant festival that has been more popular since the start of this festival, however, in these recent years, this festival has influenced many Nepali women residing all over the world. Women in red attire sing and dance in the street, going to temple in the holy and fasting mood. Usually, women get called or collected by their parents or brothers, where she celebrates Teej with rest of the family members and siblings. Let us look at the three days of Teej in Nepal.

First Day: The Feast Day

The first day of Teej known as Dar Khane Din (feast day). In this day, women come together in one particular place wearing their most elegant dress and jewelry. These women embellish themselves in sorhasingaar- dressing up and using makeup to the full extent. Together they are singing devotional Teej song and start dancing. Along with that celebration, a feast takes place which is very grand with a variety of foods and desserts.

This day is a probably the only day of the freedom of expression to Nepali women who work and dedicated herself to her husband and family only for the entire year. This particular day, they enjoy their time with friends and eats delicious dishes. The feast is hosted by the ladies together, or the men host the feast. Women also get invited by their parents or brothers for the grand feast.

Women also express their pains in the song they sing while dancing. But, with the change in time and advancement of communication and awareness, these days Teej is an occasion to voice their concerns about social issues and discrimination against women. The feast and celebration go till midnight and after that 24 hour fast starts.

Second Day: The Fasting Day

This day is the day of fasting. The fast is very strict and rigid. Some women prefer to have fruit and liquid, while some keep this fast without food and even drops of water. There is no restriction for keeping this fast as both married and unmarried women can take the fast. Married women keep this fast abstaining themselves from food and drinks with the belief that their devotion to the god will be blessed with long life, peace, and prosperity of the husband and whole family. Unmarried keep the fast with a hope of getting a good husband in the future.

This day too, women wear their best attire, especially the red sari and visit the nearby Shiva temple, where they offer their praying with flowers, fruits, sweets, and coins. After that, they join in the singing and dancing with other women. The very important part of the puja is the oil lamp which must burn throughout the night. It is in the belief that the light of an oil lamp all night will bring and peace and prosperity to the whole family.

Third Day: Rishi Panchami

The last day of Teej is Rishi Panchami. This day is dedicated to the SaptaRishis (seven sages). After completing the puja of the previous day, women worship seven sages. They offer their prayer to the deities and take bathe with red mud found on the roots of the sacred datiwan (holy tree) bush, along with its leaves. The bath ritual is very important in this day as it is believed that this final ritual of Teej is an act of purification which discharges women for their sins.

The third day ritual of Teej is done as an act of seeking the forgiveness. Rishi Panchami is practiced by both married and unmarried Hindu women and girls who have experienced their first menstruation cycle. As per the Hindu belief, the menstruation period is impure, which abstains women and girls from practicing any religious acts, entering or cooking, making any contacts with the family members, mainly male and several other rigid rules which must be followed during the menstruation period. The fasting on this day is kept by Hindu women and girls to ask forgiveness from the seven saints for any mistakes by them during the time of their menstruation.

Teej Festival

When is Teej celebrated?

Teej usually occurs in the month of Bhadra according to the Nepali calendar (August to September in Solar Calendar) and last for three days.

This year Teej will be celebrated from Bhadra 26 – Bhadra 28 (September 11 – September 13). If you want to witness this joyous festival of Nepali women, then do not forget to visit the nearby temple of Lord Shiva.

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What are other types of Teej?

Teej can be observed in different ways in a different country. Teej means “third” day that falls every month after the new moon and the third day after the full moon night of every month. There are three different types of Teej, Haryali Teej, Kajari Teej, and Hartalika Teej; these are mainly practiced in different parts of India.

Hariyali Teej

Hariyali Teej is celebrated to remember the reunion of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, the day when Lord Shiva accepted Parvati as his wife. It is believed that Lord Shiva accepted Parvati after many austere and fasting in her 108 birth. That is why Goddess Parvati is also called as Teej Mata.

Kajati Teej

Kajari Teej is celebrated by singing folk songs which are known as kauris. The lyrics of the song focus on separation expressing the pain of women for her beloved parents’ home, where she has been sent to celebrate Teej or waiting in hope to be called by her brothers to celebrate Teej. This Teej is also known as Kakali Teej. Women who observe this Teejkept fast without any food or water and broke the fast by eating sattu (flour consisting mixture of ground pulses and cereals). This Teej also involves praying the moon. This Teej is somewhat similar to the Teej of Nepal, where women are collected by her parents or brothers to have a feast in Dar Khane Din.

Haritalika Teej

The word “Haritalika” is comprised of two words “harit” and “aalika”,  “harit” means “abduction” and “aalika” means “female friend.” Haritalika Teej is celebrated as a remembrance to the Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva union. As per stories, Goddess Parvati’s father made a promise to marry her with Lord Vishu against her wish. Parvati told this to her friend, and she took Parvati to a thick forest where Parvati’s father couldn’t find her, and she won’t have to marry Lord Vishnu. Goddess Parvati prayed to Lord Shiva by making a Shiva lingam from her hair. Impressed by her devotion towards him, Lord Shiva married Parvati and since then the day is referred as Haritalika Teej as Goddess Parvati’s friend (aalika) abducted (harit) her so she could achieve her goal of marrying Lord Shiva. The Teej which is practiced in Nepal is Haritalika Teej.

Festivals of Nepal: Celebrate Life in Colours of Festivals.

Nepal is a land of ethnic and religious diversity, dominated by people of Hindu religion and followed by Buddhist religion. There are more than 55 festivals celebrated in a calendar year in Nepal. The vast number of festivals arises from the ethnic diversity present in Nepal. In a small area of 1, 47,181 sq. meter resides more than 125 ethnic groups, each with their different festivals. In spite of the diversity in ethnicity and festivals, all the communities live and celebrate each other’s festivals and rituals with joy, respect, and excitement.

Tihar festival in Nepal

It is certainly true that there are more festivals in Nepal than days in a calendar, but not all festivals receive nationwide attention. Some important festivals gain more attention and have greater religious and historical significance than others. The celebrations have also become a tourist attention grabber. Many tourists express their desire to come back and experience the festivals in the future. Some of the paramount festivals of Nepal celebrated and enjoyed by people of all ethnic groups are:

Holi (Festival of Colors)

Holi, traditionally called Fagupurnima is the festival of colors. The festival falls on the month of Falgun and Chaitra of Nepali calendar. Holi is one of the most lively and enjoyable festivals of Nepal practiced by people all over Nepal. People celebrate Holi to celebrate the death of “Holika.”, who tried to kill a devotee of Vishnu, Prahlada. A Fire was lighted to both Holika and Prahlada, but only Holika burnt to death. Maybe this is the reason why we splash water in Holi.

Colors are another feature of Holi. Holi signifies the end of winter and start of spring, giving birth to colorful flower blooms and warmer climate. This also may be the reason we celebrate happiness with various colors in Holi.

Tourists visit widely to Nepal to enjoy this lively, joyful festival. Random strangers on the street become friends and celebrate by putting colors on the faces of each other. Undoubtedly, Holi is the most joyous and enjoyed festivals of Nepal.


Lhosar, also referred to as Losar is another widely celebrated festivals of Nepal. The Buddhist community is from where Lhosar originated. Lhosar is a new year’s festival celebrated on the first day of Lunisolar Tibetan Calendar. Different communities celebrate Lhosar in different dates. There are three different Lhosar celebrated in Nepal, Tamu Lhosar, Gyalbo Lhosar and Sonam Lhosar. Gurung community celebrates Talu Lhosar, Tamang and Yolmu communities celebrate Sonam Lhosar, and Sherpa and Tibetan community celebrates Gyalbo Lhosar.  

Lhosar is a festival of dancing in traditional dresses, eating foods and family gatherings. People also pray in monasteries, clean houses and surroundings and decorate homes and monasteries. They clean the surrounding to make a clean path for the gods to visit their home.


Dashain major festival in Nepal

Almost all Hindus in Nepal celebrate Dashain. More than 80% of Hindu people celebrate Dashain, the tika festival in Nepal. Dashain is considered as one of the major festivals of Nepal. It is a fifteen-day long festival. The first day, Ghatasthapana marks the start of Dashain. In Dashain, people worship different deities for 8 consecutive days, the 8 Tantrik Goddesses and nine incarnated forms of Goddess Durga. The tenth day, Vijaya Dashami is the most important day of the festival. People receive red tika and Jamara from elders and ask for blessings.

People travel all over the country to receive tika and blessings from their relatives and elders. The last day of the festival is in the full moon and called Kojagrata Purnima. People also enjoy huge swings made of bamboo (Linge Ping), play cards with family and cousins, and buy new clothes and equipment.


 Tihar is the festival of Lights. It is a five-day festival that comes after the end of Dashain. Tihar focuses on worshipping the animals ridden by gods and goddesses. People worship animals like dogs, crow, and cow in Tihar. Laxmi Puja is a significant day of Tihar. People light the houses in handmade Diyos and light up electrical lights over the entire house.  Laxmi is the goddess of wealth, and people keep the house and surroundings clean and pave a path with lights to guide the goddess inside peoples home.

Tihar is also a festival of sweet dishes. Many dishes like Selroti, Anarsha, Fiini, and Thekua are made and offered to the animals, goddess, and people. The sight of streets gleaming with different colored lights covers the entire country.  Close friends form a group and sing Dheuso Bhailo from house to house and ask and give blessings for prosperity and good fortune.

Mha Puja

Mha puja falls on Newari New year which follows the Nepal Sambhat calendar. It translates to Me puja where people worship themselves. The Mha Puja is the most important festivals of Nepal specific to the Newar ethnic group. It falls on the fourth day of Tihar. People worship themselves and perform rituals to purify and empower ones’ soul and body. The family members sit in a row on the floor in front of a drawn mandala, a sand painting of a sacred circular diagram.

Buddha Jayanti

 Buddha Jayanti is the most important day for all Buddhist followers. Buddha Jayanti marks the birthday of Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism and the light of Asia. This a joyous day not just for Buddhist followers but for all the people of Nepal. People of different ethnic groups collaborate with monks and Buddhist followers and spread the teaching of Gautam Buddha on the day. Many Buddhist followers visit shrines like Lumbini, Swoyambhunath, and Boudhanath to pray and offer homage to their leader. The shrines of Gautam Buddha are lit with butter lamps as a sign of respect and admiration.

Monks, nun, and followers travel in parades on Buddha Jayanti chanting prayers of moral of life. Many people refrain from killing animals in Buddha Jayanti and eat vegetarian dishes on the day to respect the teachings of Gautam Buddha.


Teej is a Hindu festival celebrated by most of the Hindu women. Teej is a festival focused on women of Nepal. Married women fast on the day in hopes of longer life and prosperity of her husband. Young and unmarried girls fast in faith to find a kind and loving husband. Women wear red saris with ornaments and dance in music and celebrate the festival. They end the fast by eating delicious foods and visit relatives.

Indra Jatra

Jatras are festivals celebrated by people of the Newar community. Newar people of Kathmandu celebrate Indra Jatra(Yenya) to honor Lord Indra, God of rain. The festival is 8 days long and takes place in Kathmandu Durbar Square. Several chariots of Goddess Kumari, Ganesh, and Bhairav round the city along with mascots and traditional bands. People imitate different Bhairavs, Dashavtaar and Lakhey and dance around the chariot. People celebrate Indra Jatra in celebration of the release of God Indra, who was captured by locals. On the release of God Indra, his mother blessed the city with rain. So, god of rain, Lord Indra is worshipped and celebrated in Kathmandu.

Gai Jatra

Newars of Bhaktapur strongly follow Gai Jatra. The festival is one of a kind in Nepal. Gai Jatra is a humorous festival. The Jatra is nine days long and falls in the month of Bhadra. People make sarcastic jokes and comments, satire each other to make people laugh. Many magazines, Tv shows, and theatre play funny shows and plots to celebrate Gai Jatra. This Jatra takes place in the Bhaktapur Durbar Square.

Gai Jatra originated from the regime of Pratap Malla. The son of Pratap Malla died early, and his queen was grief-stricken. King Pratap arranged for an occasion to lessen the pain of his queen. The king ordered every family who has lost loved ones join in an event where people dress ridiculously as ghouls and comic appearance to make the grieved ones laugh and forget about their pain. People dress similar to cows, as cows are believed to lead the soul to the other world.    

Rato Machchhindra Jatra

Rato Machchhindra Jatra

Rato Machchhindra Jatra is a prominent festival of Nepal seen followed in Patan area of Kathmandu Valley. People make a chariot from wood and bamboo from forests that have religious importance. Hindus and Buddhists follow Rato Machchhindra deity. An idol of Rato Machchhindra is put inside the chariot and pulled places of Lalitpur like Gabahal, Sundhara, and Lagankhel. The festival ends when a marvelous Bhoto is shown to the people from the chariot. The chariot is then dismantled, and the idol of Rato Machchhindra is placed in a temple at Bungamati village.

Above mentioned are some of the most celebrated and followed festivals of Nepal. There are several others festivals in Nepal that people follow in huge number. Some other important festivals of Nepal are Bisket Jatra, Chhath, Maha Shivratri, Saraswati Puja and many more. You can visit Nepal in any of the festivals and be a part of our culture, traditions, and celebrations.

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