Haritalika Teej in Auckland

Bihar Jharkhand Sabha of Australia and New Zealand celebrated Hartalika Teej in Auckland (New Zealand)

Married ladies belonging to the Bihar Jharkhand Sabha of Australia and New Zealand maintained their culture and tradition by celebrating Hartalika Teej in Auckland on Monday the 2nd of September.

A number of Bihari families assembled at the Papatoetoe  residence of Rani and Amit Singh where the women, attired in colourful  saris and shining bangles, performed the Teej puja. On this joyous occasion women in India receive gifts of new saris and bangles from their parents and their parents-in-law. 

The enthusiasm to participate in the celebration and the puja this year was quite overwhelming. Many of the couples participating in the fast and the puja have young families and the excitement among the children was a treat to the eyes. A number of Bihari families living in West Auckland could not make the trip to Papatoetoe as Teej fell on Monday, a working day, and the rush hour traffic in Auckland deterred many families from undertaking the trip.

Hartalika Teej falls on the third day of the luminous fortnight (Shukla Paksha) of Bhadrapad. It is one of the most important festivals celebrated in India. It is popular in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. Women observe fast for 24 hours, some going without water for this length of time. The day is spent on prayers, singing and dancing. The fast is undertaken by married women for the health, well-being and longevity of their husbands. Single women also observe the fast in expectation of finding a decent husband. 

The fast starts in the morning and concludes on the following morning with puja and prayers. Sweets offered to the deities on this occasion are gujhia (pedakia) and thekua along with offerings of seasonal fruit.

Hartalika Teej is also celebrated in the southern states of India where it is known as Gowri Habba. It is believed that this festival celebrates the love of Goddess Parvati for her husband Lord Shiva and women believe that by fasting on this day their love and marriage will be as strong and enduring as that of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva.