Hindu women in Nepal observe an annual public holiday to celebrate the festival of Hartalika Teej, in commemoration of the “marriage of the god Shiva to the Hindu goddess Hartalika”. The “Teej” part of the name is from a word referring to the red teej bug, which is why wearing and display of the colour red is customary on this day.
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Note: Hartalika Teej is observed by females only.
Hartalika Teej comes on the third day of the full moon in the Hindu month of Bhadrapad. This holiday marks the beginning of monsoon season in Nepal. The date varies on the Gregorian Calendar.
During this festival, women fast and pray for the health and well-being of their husband and family. Young unmarried girls pray that they will someday enjoy a happy marriage. There are also many special events for Hartalika Teej, which span across three full days.
On day one, women dress in red or in bridal gowns and gather for a time of merrily singing and dancing. They feast all day until midnight, at which point, the fasting of day two begins. They don’t even drink one sip of water all day long and spend much time visiting temples of Shiva. At night on day two, a lamp is kept lit all night. Then on day three, they bathe in red mud that is believed to remove from them all sins.