Celebrated in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Chandigarh in August, the swing festival of Teej welcomes the advent of the monsoon. The festival is dedicated to Goddess Parvati and commemorates the day when she was united with Lord Shiva after a penance of a hundred years, making them a symbol of an ideal marriage. It is believed that invocation of Parvati’s blessings on this day results in continued marital bliss.
Basically a women’s festival, Teej falls on the third day of the bright fortnight of the month of Shrawan (July-August). The images of Parvati or Teej Mata are bedecked in new clothes, jewellery and worshipped. Then the images are taken out in ceremonial processions escorted by caparisoned elephants, camels and horse drawn chariots. As the bride Parvathi leaves her parents home for her husband’s, the devotees surge to catch a glimpse of the deity and seek blessings.
Swings are hung from trees and decorated with flowers. Young girls and women colourfully attired, swing on them and sing songs in praise of the goddess and the monsoon. They decorate their hands and feet with henna in beautiful designs. The popular belief is that darker the henna the more a man loves his woman. Girls engaged to be married, receive gifts such as a dress, henna, lac bangles and sweets from their future in-laws. Married women get gifts from their parents.