Thanks to the diversity in India, there is some festival or the other celebrated every 20-odd days, all through the year. However, the significance these festivals hold are known by few. Hartalika Teej, which is being celebrated today, is one such festival. Being one of the most important Teej out of three, Hariyali Teej and Kajari Teej, this festival is celebrated mainly by married women in the north Indian region of the country. It is celebrated one month after Haryali Teej, which was on July 26 this year. The origin of this festival goes back to the story of Ma Hartalika (also known as Goddess Parvati) who was devoted and in love with Lord Shiva. Hartalika Teej is celebrated to commemorate the day Lord Shiva accepted Parvati’s love and reciprocated. On this day, women pray to the lord for a loving and devoted life partner.
The word Hartalika is a combination of words ‘Harat’, which translate to abduction and ‘Aalika’ meaning female friend. According to the mythology, goddess Parvati’s father wanted her to marry lord Vishnu, oblivious to her devotion to lord Shiva. To avoid the marriage, Parvati asked her friends abduct her and stop the union. Hence, the origin of Teej. Difficult to please and woo, it took Parvati 108 births before Shiva acknowledged her love for him. Hence, it is believed that on this very day Parvati, after being accepted by Shiva, dedicated the auspicious day to women and proclaimed that whoever performed the desired rituals on this day would be blessed with a devoted partner and a happy married life.
Rituals and celebration
Women, on this auspicious day, wake up early in the morning and adorn themselves in new clothes and jewellery. In certain states the tradition of ‘solah shringar’ (16 elements) is followed. They then visit the temple and pray to Shiva and Parvati. The puja, also known as Shiva-Parvati, is done after calculating an auspicious time and moment. A mud diya is lit in the morning and oiled regularly to keep it lit all through the day. Women observe a fast and avoid food and water. However, fruits and sweets can be eaten. In the evening, women come together and celebrate.
Timings and Mahurat
According to drikpanchang.com the auspicious time and Muhurat for this year’s prayer is as follows:
Pratahkal Hartalika Puja Muhurat = 05:58 to 08:32 Duration = 2 Hours 33 Mins (Morning)
Pradoshkal Hartalika Puja Muhurat = 18:47 to 20:27 Duration = 1 Hour 39 Mins (Evening)
Prasad and Bhog
Though women keep a fast all through the day, traditional sweets such as ghewar and pedas are offered to the gods as prasad.