Hartalika Teej (हरतालिका तीज) is the third among the series of Teej festivals in a year, the other two being the Hariyali Teej festival and Kajali Teej. Hartalika Teej is mainly celebrated through observing the Hartalika Vrat (vrat means fast) by the married ladies and even by girls of marriageable age in many Hindu communities. Unmarried girls observe this fast with the hope to get an ideal husband like Lord Shiva and the married women pray for marital bliss. Hartalika teej, like the other teej festivals, is celebrated in North and central India as well as in some parts of Western India. The major states that observe Hartalika Teej include Rajasthan, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and some parts of Maharashtra.
Hartalika Teej Date 2013
Hartalika Teej is celebrated on the third day of Shukla Paksha (bright fortnight of lunar month which culminates in full moon day) in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada which falls in Gregorian months August-September. This year, Hartalika Teej will be observed on 8 September 2013. The dates of all the three Teej festivals in the year 2013 are as follows:
Hariyali Teej – 10 August 2013
Kajjli Teej- 23 August 2013
Haritalika Teej- 8 September 2013
Hartalika Teej Celebration and Rituals
The belief behind having marital bliss through observing Teej fast is based on the intense austerities (tapasya) observed by Goddess Parvati in order to get Lord Shiva as her husband. Like the other two Teej festivals, on the day of Haritalika Teej too women wear their best dresses and jewelry, put mehndi henna on their hands and feet, do make up and make merry while observing the fast.
As per the rituals, women have to worship Goddess Parvati at home or in nearby temples or gardens in groups. All the women gathered at the puja sthal (worship venue) form a semi-circle and make idols of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva with mud and is keep in the middle of the semi circle. Holy offerings of flowers, sweets and coins are made. A pujarin (woman priest) or any other woman narrates the Teej Katha (Teej Story) which is earnestly heard by women gathered. After the puja gets over women offer fruits, flowers etc. and seek blessings of Goddess Parvati for marital bliss. The oil lamp (diya) lit during the puja has to be kept alight throughout the night. At some places, women bath with red mud found on the roots of the sacred Datiwan bush after they worship Goddess Parvati which is believed to be an act of self purification. In Maharashtra, women distribute beautifully painted coconuts to their female relatives and friends as well as offer fresh fruit and green vegetables to the goddess. Tender coconut water and sweets and dishes using coconut are one of the major treats on Hartalika Teej in Maharashtra
Hartalika Fast Story
There is a mythological legend behind the observance of Haritalika Teej which tells about the penance paid by Parvati for getting Lord Shiva as her husband. It is said that Lord Shiva himself told this story of Teej to Parvati in order to make her know about her previous birth and also the significance of the Teej fast.
Lord Shiva said to Parvati that in her previous birth, she did intense ‘tapasya’ (observed penance) by not having food and eating only the dried out leaves, in winters she stood still in cold water river, in summers, she burnt her body with ‘Panchagni’ and in rainy season she spent days beneath the sky without having food and water. Seeing this, her father was sad and angry at the same time. In such situation, Narad Muni visited their house and said to the father of Parvati that Lord Vishnu was very happy by the ‘Tapasya’ of Parvati and wants to marry her. Parvatraj, the father of Parvati, was very happy and gave his nod for this marriage.
When Parvati came to know about this, she was very sad and told oner of her friends that she had accepted Lord Shiva as her husband but her father has fixed her marriage with Lord Vishnu and thus there is no other way for her except embracing death. Her friend was a wise lady and she said to Parvati that it is not a good idea to die and if you have accepted Lord Shiva as your husband and want to continue the ‘Tapasya’ to grt him, she would take her to dense forest where she can do her tapasya while her father too would not be able to find her.
Thus, both the friends went to the jungle and in a cave near a river, Parvati continued doing her tapasya while her father was worried and was searching for his daughter all over. On the day of Bhadrapada Shukla Tritiya, Parvati made a Shivalinga with sand. She sung songs in praise of Lord Shiva the whole night. Due to her intense penance, Lord Shiva had to appear before Parvati and asked her what she wanted. Parvati then said that as she has accepted Shiva as her husband by heart, she wants him also to accept her as his wife. Shiva granted her the wish and got vanished.
The next morning, Parvati’s father too cam at the place where parvati was there in jungle while searching for her. He was sad at the condition of Parvati and asked why she was doing all this. Parvati told her father that she can only marry Lord Shiva and not Vishnu. If he promises that he would let her marry Lord Shiva then only, she would go home with him. Her father agreed to this and brought her home. After some time, Parvati and Shiva got married. After saying this story to Parvati, Shiva said that because Parvati did this fast and observed great penance on Bhadrapada Shukla Tritiya day, he would grant desired wish to any woman who observed this fast on the same day. The fast was called Hartalika because Parvati’s friend abducted her from her father and took to the jungle for her tapasya. As ‘Harat’ or ‘Haran’ means abduction and ‘Alika’ means girl friend, this fast was called ‘Hartalika fast’