Festivals are the very essence of life for the people of Rajasthan.Peacocks dance in ecstasy, women rejoice by swinging on rope swings in gardens and lilting melodies heralding the festival of Teej echo all round.Teej is celebrated on the third day of waxing moon in the month of Shravan(July-August). The festival of Teej reflects the magic of the monsoon.
On the day of Teej, Goddess Parvati was united with Lord Shiva after a penance of a hundred years.The invocation of Parvati's blessings this day results in continued marital bliss.The swing festival welcomes the advent of the monsoon.Swings, decorated with flowers are hung from trees.Women, colorfully attired, swing on them and sing songs in celebration.With every drop of first rains;peacock dance in ecstasy, spirits soar high in celebration.Song and dance mark the gaiety of the Teej Festival.
Thought this festival is celebrated in many parts of India, it holds a special place in the hearts of the people of Jaipur as a time for rejuvenation and revival of spirits after the punishing summers.The festival is made into an even more memorable experience if it rains on this particular day.people pray for a cool shower at the time of the procession, for Teej without rains is like Christmas without snow.
Teej is essentially a women's festival.Women dress up in all their finery to worship the goddess.Girls engaged to be married receive gifts from their future in-laws a day before the festival.The gift, called shrinjhara derived from the ward shringar, consists of henna, lac bangles , a special dress of laheria(tie-and-dye-fabric)and a sweet called ghewar.
A Baya consisting of a number of gifts, clothes and sweets is sent by the mother to the married daughter.After the puja, the baya is given to the mother-in-law.
Young women can be seen getting the palms of their hands decorated with henna.Teej songs specific to the festival are sung to accompany the application of henna, wearing an aura of romance.
The special feature of Teej is getting swings fixed on branches of large trees in open spaces.Swinging is a fascinating experience for girls and young women.Singing and swinging go hand in hand with beautiful henna, adorning their hands.
Ceremonival Procession at Jaipur Rajasthan
During the time of Princely rule, the image of Parvati, referred to as Teej Mata, used to be taken out for two days in a ceremonial procession.A few days before the festival, the image is repainted and on the appointed day it is bedecked in a new dress and traditional jewellery and worshiped in the Zenana (the ladies' chamber in the city Palace) by the women of the royal family.After this ritual is over, the image is brought out into the courtyard to join the procession.Thousands of spectator wait breathlessly to catch a glimpse of the goddess.The strength of the crowd varies inversely with the strength of the monsoon.A huge crowd of colorfully dressed villagers gathers on the terraces of the houses breathlessly on both sides of road.
At the auspicious moment decided by the priest, the procession is led out by the Nishan-ka-hathi(the elephant with the flag).The magnificent procession of caparisoned elephants, bullock carts, and chariots comes out of the Tripolia Gate.And then the much-awaited image of Teej Mata appears, mounted on the traditional palanquin-Taught-e-rawan.The crowd surges forward to catch a glimpse of the deity and invoke her blessings.As the procession moves out of sight, people start dispersing,returning to their villages to prepare for the next festival on the calendar.
Teej is joyful day, with singing, swinging and dancing.Everyone feels happy, and all partake of sumptuous food to crown the festivities.
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