"Teej" refers to the "third" day that falls every month after the new moon (Amavasya), and the third day after the full moon night of every month. Accordingly, Teej can refer to any festival falling on such a day but when speaking of Teej, the festivals of Haryali Teej, Kajari Teej and Hartalika Teej are classed together. The other forms of Teej are separate festivals: such as Akshaya Tritiya).Awra Teej is celebrated in the lunar month of Vaisakh in parts of Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh: Awra Teej is not associated with the trio of the monsoon festivals of Teej. The Jhulan Utsav of Vrindaban is also an independent festival.

Teej is traditionally observed by women for the wellness of their husband, but the focus has now changed to celebrate women's freedom of expression.

Celebrations of Teej

While ritual fasting is central to Teej, the festival is marked by colorful celebrations, especially by the womenfolk, who enjoy swing rides, song and dance. Swings are often hung from trees or placed in the courtyard of homes and decked with flowers. Young girls and married women apply mehendi or henna tattoos on this auspicious occasion. Women wear beautiful saris and adorn themselves with jewelry, and visit temples to offer their special prayers to goddess Parvati. A special sweet called 'ghewar' is prepared and distributed as Prasad or divine offering.

Significance of Teej

The importance of Teej is mainly two-fold: First, as a festival for women, Teej celebrates the victory of a wife's love and devotion towards her husband - an important factor in Hinduism - symbolized by the union of Shiva and Parvati.

Second, Teej ushers in the advent of the monsoons - the season of rains bringing in a reason to celebrate when people can take a break from the sweltering heat and enjoy the swing of the monsoon - "Sawan ke jhooley." Besides, it's an occasion for married women to visit their parents and return with gifts for their in-laws and spouse. So, Teej provides an opportunity to renew family bonds.