The beliefs behind celebrating Teej Festival Of Rana Tharu

१८ श्रावण २०८०, बिहीबार
The beliefs behind celebrating Teej Festival Of Rana Tharu

The Teej festival holds significant importance for the Rana Tharu community, particularly for women. Celebrated on the third day of Shukla Paksha in the month of Sawan, Teej follows the planting of paddy and sowing of other crops. During this time, many women choose to stay at their maternal homes or with close relatives for approximately 15 days to partake in the festivities.

A central part of the celebration involves creating swings that are kept for the entire 15-day period. The process of making the swings involves cooperation between sisters, brothers, and nephews. They gather materials such as wood, rope, Baib, or Rangoh’s long vines from the forest to construct the swings. This collaborative effort fosters increased love, harmony, and affection between siblings.

With the lush greenery of the Sawan month providing a vibrant backdrop, women swing with great enthusiasm during the 15 days of Krishna Paksha. They sing auspicious songs and observe a fast on the Tritiya of Shukla Paksha to wish for the long life, happiness, and prosperity of their brothers and nephews. On this day, they prepare traditional dishes like Simai, Pudi, and Vegetable Gulgula.

In the evening, fasting women head to the riverbank to perform the Jhudki (Panti) ritual. They make Jhudki using kus grass, tying seven knots if married and five knots if unmarried. The Jhudki is then worshipped, and self-made dishes are offered, followed by sprinkling water using silver ornaments or coins. The belief is that the farther the Jhudki swings in the unobstructed river, the greater the longevity, happiness, and prosperity of their brothers and nephews.

Breaking the fast and eating take place by the riverbank, where brothers and nephews play pranks and coax their sisters to share the prasad (blessed food). If the sisters hesitate, they may be lightly teased with pataki (a thick rope of grass) until they share the prasad. This playful interaction between siblings adds to the beauty of the celebration.

Different Hindu communities have various reasons for celebrating Teej. For some, it is to pray for their husband’s long life, while for others, it is to find a good husband. However, in the Rana Tharu community, Teej is believed to honor the ancient goddess named Behamaiya, who protected her brothers and nephews on the third day of Shukla Paksha in the month of Sawan. This legacy is cherished and celebrated with great fervor among the Rana Tharu people.

Author – Om Prakash Rana (Head) Nijhota, Kheri, U.P. India

In ancient times, a significant ritual was practiced to ensure longevity, happiness, and prosperity. The story revolves around an old goddess named Behmaiya, who resided by the riverbank. During that era, there was a widespread outbreak of diseases, leading to concerns for the well-being of her brothers and nephews.

In an attempt to safeguard their lives, Behmaiya would tie knots in the names of her brothers and nephews, using a “panti” made of kus grass. She would then immerse the “Jhudki” (the kus grass bunch) in the river. As the “Jhudki” floated away with the river’s flow, Behmaiya would burst into laughter, believing that this indicated her brothers’ and nephews’ survival.

However, if the “Jhudki” did not float far along the river’s fresh water, Behmaiya would be overcome with sorrow and tears, fearing the ill fate of her loved ones.

One day, while passing through the area on her way to the land of the dead (mirtyulok), Mata Parvati noticed the old mother’s alternating emotions of laughter and tears. Intrigued, she approached the goddess and inquired about the reason for her actions.

Behmaiya explained her practice, and Mata Parvati realized the deep love and concern the old goddess had for her family. In response, Mata Parvati advised her to keep a fast on the Tritiya falling in the Shukla Paksha of the month of Sawan. She suggested Behmaiya flow the “Jhudki” in the river on this auspicious day for the welfare and protection of her brothers and nephews.

Since that momentous encounter, the tradition of celebrating Teej festival has been carried on, a special occasion when women come together to pray for the well-being and prosperity of their brothers and nephews. This touching tale, passed down through generations, continues to be cherished, commemorating the devotion and love shared among siblings.

Note: The above narrative is based on the ancestral story narrated by Om Prakash Rana, the Head of Nijhota, Kheri, U.P. India.

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