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Festivals - TEEJ
 
 

THE TEEJ FESTIVAL FALLS ON THE THIRD DAY OF THE MOONLIT fortnight of Sawan month (in July or August), which is a day after Sindhara. Teej is the festival for the daughters of the house. Teej is much more talked about and more well known than Sindhara. On the occasion of Teej, Dandia dances are arranged by professionals and performed in courtyards at home and in public places. These dances are also performed by the young girls of the house who dress up in colourful saris,lehangas and chunris.

   
 

Basically, Teej is a festival of Rajasthan and Gujarat, and as such the tie-and-dye chunri in green, red, and yellow with its zari and gota along with green, yellow and red bangles, becomes a feast for the eyes. The colourful dandas moving in rhythmic beats, with each swing of the hands and feet, hitting either at one's own danda held in the other hand, or at the one held by the other dancers, are really beautiful to watch. This dance has to be practiced diligently earlier by all the participants. Lehanga, choli and chunri are the order of the day even for those who are not participating in the dance. Swings are set up in the open courtyards. Girls with henna on their hands and feet run about joyously. They are free of household chores on this day, and wait impatiently for the new clothes that their mothers would give them.On Teej, it is a must for the girls to receive clothes from their parents. A set of heavy clothes for the first year after marriage is given and then the gifts would depend on the economic status of the family. The children of the girls are also entitled to clothes from their maternal grandparents or maternal uncles. Sons-in-law are not given any clothes in most homes, but if some feel that he is the only one left out, a suit can be sent for him also.

 

 

The system of giving new clothes on all occasions to a daughter (and her children) was in lieu of her right to the family property and money, which was earlier denied to her by law, but was socially incumbent in the form of her right toget clothes and jewellery on festivals and other occasions. She was so entitled, that if anyone defaulted, it was considered inauspicious. Of course,as in case when a custom becomes a social law, there is a reverse effect, where the maternal side being poor, cannot adhereto the custom, thus leaving a stigma on the family.

   
 

Therefore, the law should be equal for sons as well as daughters (as it has become now). The distribution of whatever is in the father's or mother's side is done once and for all at the time of the death of any one of them,and the custom of giving can be dispensed with, but this is only possible if the entire property and assets have been equally distributed.On Teej, just as on Karva Chouth, a baya is sent by the mother. The girl can be in her mother's house or in her-in-laws' house. The puja is the same for both a daughter-in-law and a daughter. The puja is done in the morning. The materials required for the baya are four kachoris, four puris, two antharse-ki-golis, and two fruits.

   
 

These are placed on a thaali at the place of puja, where a chowk has been decorated, and Gaur Mata (an idol or a picture of Parvati) seated on a patta. Puja is done just as on Sindhara or Karva Chouth.The auspicious chunri is worn and a chonp (or chomp) is put on the forehead,in addition to the other make-up. Chanting is done by an elderly lady and the same words are repeated as on Sindhara, but the word Teej is used instead of Sindhara. The tith is also corrected accordingly.

 

Whatever is put in the baya is given to an elderly lady (preferably to the mother-in-law ) after the puja. The feet of all elders are touched by the daughters-in-law - the former happily give their blessings. This day - like Sindhara - meant for fun and frolic. Lunches, dinners, and a lot of dancing and singing are arranged. One can make it a happy occasion by taking the young girls out for shopping and buying them chaat during the day and keeping the evening aside for singing and dancing.

     
 
 
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