|Nepalese Hindu women wait for their turn to worship the Hindu God Shiva at Pashupati Nath Temple during the celebration of Teej festival in Kathmandu, capital of Nepal, on Aug. 31, 2011. (Xinhua/Niraj Sapkota)
by Sweta Baniya
KATHMANDU, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- Nepali Hindu women all across the country and abroad are celebrating their greatest festival Haritalika Teej with much fanfare and zeal on Wednesday.
Teej is precisely a three-day festival that falls on the end of August or early September. This year's Haritalika Teej falls on Wednesday.
Tuesday was "Dar Khane Din"- which is actually a merry-making celebration with delicious feast.
Wednesday is the "fasting day." On this day, Hindu women in red attire with gold jewelry are thronging at Pashupatinath, singing and taking a series of rhythmical steps to the tunes of folk devotional songs.
On the day of Teej, married women fast for their husband's long life and good health, while the unmarried fast for the sake of getting a good husband. "Teej" is a small red insect that comes out of the soil during monsoon.
The festival is however marked with a hardcore fasting on which women fast even without taking a drop of water and some consider even swallowing saliva as a sin.
On the eve of Teej festival, women feast heavily and adhere to stringent fasting Wednesday.
According to Hindu myth, it is believed that Goddess Parvati had taken similar fast on this very day to get Lord Shiva as her husband.
And from that time, the festival commemorates Parvati's union with Lord Shiva.
The capital city Kathmandu has been overcrowded with women clad in red saris worshipping Lord Shiva in every corner of the city, especially the temple of Lord Pashupatinath.
About 300,000 Hindu women are expected to visit the holy Pashupatinath temple in the capital Kathmandu during the festival this year for worshipping.
Talking to Xinhua on Wednesday, Sudeshna Thapa, a Doctor by profession said she has a great belief over lord Shiva and that is the reason she fast every year.
"I am unmarried but I have not fast for getting a good husband. However it is the tradition that I am following which gives me happiness and peace of mind," she said.
Thapa said she has taken a fast without a single drop of water and she has been doing this since a long time period.
Similarly, Arabinda Subedi, manager of Corporate Human Resource Development of Chaudhary Group, who has a newly married wife told Xinhua that he won't force his wife to fast.
"I don't believe that by the fast of my wife, I am going to get a long life but if she prefers to fast on the very day, I support her and if she does not want I support her too," Subedi said.
The festival will end on Friday by celebrating "Rishi Panchami" festival, which is a day to perform the Teej Puja.