Hello I am Saurabh and have been born and brought up in a family which gives much importance to festivals and traditions. Our woman folk especially have strong belief in mythology and every festival is celebrated with all fanfare and passion. This is a land where women are considered and worshipped as Devi’s (Goddesses).The women too hold their spouses in high regard. So we find that festivals celebrated for a long life of husbands are celebrated with religious fervour.
One such festival Mumbaikars living in the state of Maharashtra observe, and celebrate with a lot of pomp and glory, is that of Hartalika Teej Celebrations. This is totally a Hindu women-centric festival. On this day married women fast for the long life of their husbands, and if unmarried for finding the right husband.
A very quaint legend is connected with the Hartalika Teej. Harat means-abduction and Aalika means female friend. The story goes back to the time when Parvati’s father wanted to marry her off to Lord Vishnu much against her wishes. However Parvati’s female friend abducted her, and took her to the forest, so that Parvati who was in love with Lord Shiva, could pray and do penance, hoping that Shiva would accept her. And true enough Shiva recognised her true devotion, to him and agreed to marry her.
Ever since, Parvati is worshipped as Haritalika. Women fast and pray for the entire three days trying to fulfil the symbolic the sacrifice of Parvati Maa.
On Teej in Maharashtra women wear green sarees, green & gold bangles and adorn themselves, with jewellery. Women apply kajal in the eyes, put on bindi for good luck. One of the unique features of this day is application of Mehendi on the hands and feet. On that day women sit in a garden or a temple in a semi-circle and worship the idol of goddess. A pujarin also narrates a Katha or story.
After the ceremony fresh fruits and green vegetable are offered to the goddess and beautifully painted coconuts are exchanged with female relatives. Once the rituals are done, the women partake in a feast of rice patolis which are steamed rice rolls mixed with jiggery and coconut mixed vegetable cooked in spices and sweets made from coconut. Tender coconut water is consumed as a treat.
It is one festival where if a woman applies her mind, towards the devotion of their current or future spouse, they are richly rewarded.