Kajari Teej Significance and Celebrations•
Posted on August 04 2022
Kajari Teej is a major Hindu festival celebrated in the state of Rajasthan. The Teej has, over the years, gained popularity in Central India in various parts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The celebration in these states is associated with swings and several folk Kajari songs.
The festival is primarily celebrated by women irrespective of their marital status. While married women observe a fast the whole day for the prosperity, long life and success of their life partners, unmarried ladies undertake the same fast to be blessed with good husbands. This fast or vrat is known as Nirjala Vrat. In general, the Teej is associated with celebrating the spirit of womanhood.
Kajari Teej occurs in Krishna Paksha on the third day in the Hindu Shravan month. This is typically five days ahead of Krishna Jayanti and three days after Raksha Bandhan. The Teej is as popular and important as the other two Teej festivals – Hariyali Teej and Hartalika Teej. Interestingly, Kajari Teej is also known by other names such as Satudi Teej and Badi Teej.
The festival is celebrated in honour of the divine couple Lord Shiva and His consort Maa Parvati. The story goes that Goddess Parvati was determined to have Lord Shiva as Her husband. She undertook a rigorous penance that lasted for a staggering period of 108 years. Although She ate food in the initial years, Parvati gave it up altogether over the years. Her sincerity and devotion impressed Lord Shiva and He accepted Maa Parvati as His wife. Their divine union took place in the Hindu Bhadrapada month during the Krishna Paksha period. Hence, it is considered to be high to worship Goddess Parvati on this day.
According to another legend, Kajali was a dense forest in Central India. The region surrounding the forest was reigned by a king named Dadurai. His subjects used to sing Kajali songs praising the magnificent forest. After the king’s demise, his wife Queen Nagamati committed sati. This incident devasted the subjects of the kingdom and improvised the songs to Raga Kajari.
Women enjoy swinging on elaborately decorated swings and sing several Kajari songs. In Rajasthan, a fair is organised in Bundi district every year as a part of the celebrations. There is also a big procession of the goddess in various parts of Bundi. The procession includes various performing bands and artists, camels and animals and is truly a spectacular sight.
The neem tree and Chandra, the Moon God are also worshipped as a ritual associated with the festival. There are also other rituals such as dances, get-togethers and collective prayers. Female members of the family dress up in their best colourful attires and decorate their palms with intricate and beautiful mehndi designs. Cows are fed with small sweet chapatis made of wheat flour, jaggery and ghee on this occasion.
Like with the rituals associated with any festival, the Teej rituals commence with an early morning bath. This is followed by making idols of Shiva and Parvati for worship using cow dung. Ladies place a red cloth on the pooja altar and place the idols on the raised platform.
Goddess Gauri is appeased with 16 offerings such as saree, sindoor and several beautification accessories. Some devotees also sprinkle water, vermilion and rice on the idol of the goddess. On the other hand, Lord Shiva is offered bhang, datura, mandara flowers, cow’s milk, bel leaves and of course the holy water from the Ganges.
After the offerings are made, lamps and incense sticks are lit in front of the deities. This is followed by recitation of the Kajari Teej Vrat Katha and performing the arti.
The term kajari talks of a brief separation of a woman from her husband. Hence, all Kajari songs are termed as songs of separation. On Kajari Teej, married women go to their parental homes to observe the Teej rituals. The fast and other rituals are said to help them strengthen their marital bond with their husbands. The fast is generally broken by eating sattu, after which they are treated to various other food. However, they avoid oily food and non-vegetarian food. It is believed that women will be bestowed with positive results on Kajari Teej when they are blessed by their mothers on this day.
Written by - Deepthi K