Men's role in Teej

Our readers feel that men can play a very important role in the way Teej is celebrated. They suggest that husbands also keep a fast for their wives, or go with them to the temples, throw darr parties for them, or help around in the kitchen, so that the wives can celebrate this day without worrying

As per my grandma, my grandpa used to cook darr for the whole family members. Now, men are becoming active about promoting Teej programmes for family, friends and relatives to make them happy. Some of them gift their wives with special and precious gifts to bring a smile on their faces. While women are participating in various programmes and activities for the betterment of the community and the society, men are always behind them, supporting them. Hence in Teej, men play a vital role directly or indirectly to promote our festival of women. Sometimes somewhere in the male-dominant society, they don’t support the feelings and happiness of women but the educated society supports the festival as well as women to take part in such activities.

— Manju Dhungel Shrestha, Dallu, Kathmandu

Teej is celebrated by women with the purpose of living a happy married life. Married women observe Teej for the long life and welfare of their husband no matter how they are and how they treat their wives, whereas unmarried women pray to get a good husband in the future. Men can play a major role in Teej. Men can accompany their wives on this day. They should take time off from their busy schedule for their wives just to make them happy. Furthermore, they can be involved in merry making and join the women in singing and dancing programmes. Men can make the celebration merrier by their presence.

— Anonymous

Teej is the festival of women which is being observed with great enthusiasm by women since ages in the Nepali society. However, there have been some changes in the process of celebration through the years. Urban women can be seen celebrating it in an extravagant way for one month in the name of darr and parties. Even males are seen dancing and singing with women which have become a new trend. However, this is a women’s festival and they should be treated in a special way by their husbands. Buying them beautiful accessories, taking them to temples or paying special care and attention can make women happy and cheerful on the day of Teej.

— Subha Dangol, Bhainsepati

Even today females fast without drinking a single drop of water for the whole day on Teej. And they queue at Shiva temples on empty stomachs. What are they doing? Doing penance? Being a man, I think we men should bring about a change. We can urge our mothers, wives and sisters not to follow the unhealthy tradition blindly. We can urge them to have something during their fasting. And we have a very bad tradition of drinking the water that is used to wash legs of husbands. Let’s avoid such traditions. Also, males can convince their women to celebrate Teej economically.

— Manish Paudel, Katari-10 Udayapur

Teej is a festival of fasting. Women fast for their husbands’ long lives and so men are a very important part of this occasion. Men can play a very important role to make this festival very special. Men can support their women and other family members in every part of its celebration. They can organise darr parties where women can gather with friends and family members to share their feelings and celebrate it with good memories. As it is a fasting festival, men can support women in the household works and give time and space to them to celebrate it with their near and dear ones. On the occasion of Teej, women express their feelings of pain in the form of singing and dancing, these true feelings should be felt by men to understand them. Teej is an occasion to be vocal about women’s rights, to listen to their feelings and help them create ‘her’ identity and make their existence equal to men in family and society.

Men can help to redefine the role of men and women in the family with the celebration of Teej. Men can prove the importance of each other’s roles as two wheels of same vehicle by making this festival more special for them. By respecting their dedication and contributions to the family and society, and being a supportive part of this festival, men can make it very special for women.

— Sunita Khatri

On the day of Teej, Nepali women keep a fast. They believe that by fasting they will make the lives of their husbands long and bring happiness to their families. Young girls and married women apply mehendi on this auspicious occasion and wear beautiful saris and accessorising with jewellery.

Teej celebrates the victory of a wife’s love and devotion towards her husband. This festival is also the celebration of sisterhood because this is the time when married women get the rare chance to meet their sisters and friends. And this festival plays a great role in sharing happiness and bringing women closer.

But a question arises, “Who will fast for women?” We can also see that women are forced to fast even when they are sick and pregnant. Likewise, in the name of darr, women spend money extravagantly and waste time which is not good. The traditional way of celebrating Teej should be changed and men can play an important role in this. Men can also fast for women. They should not force women to fast as I don’t think that God becomes happy only by people fasting.

— Aaditya Pathak

Due to modernisation, the most popular festival among Hindu Nepali women known as Teej has been affected as the culture of eating darr has become very popular now. Nowadays not all women go for strict fasting as it used to be some 50 years ago. Due to education and awareness, women who go on to celebrate Teej have now become careful about their health and fast after knowing about their health condition. Besides, working women are giving more emphasis to their work and then go on to celebrate Teej. The main purpose of this festival is without any doubt married women worshipping Lord Shiva for the longevity of their husbands. When it comes to roles to be played by husbands in Teej, they should make an attempt to look after the family when wives go to celebrate the festival and also participate in the festival to make it further interesting. On top of that, men should also pray and worship God for the longevity of their wives from the depth of their heart just like the females do for their husbands.

— Pratik Shrestha, Buddhanagar, Baneshwor

Teej is the festival of women where they eat delicious food and dance with their friends by singing Teej songs. In earlier times, the importance of Teej was different. Women used to go to their parents’ house to share the pain and misery they faced at their in-laws’ house. But today the celebration of this festival has changed drastically. Due to western influence, the ways of Teej celebrations has changed and its importance has decreased. Nowadays people eat darr for a month in various programmes. In the name of celebrating the festival, people show off of their expensive dresses and jewellery. So in the name of celebrating the festival, we don’t have to indulge in showing off because the festival is not only for rich people. Poor people can’t celebrate like rich people, so they will feel humiliated when they don’t have what rich people have. Festivals are colours of happiness, and so celebrate Teej in a simple manner by not showing off one’s wealth and wasting lots of money.

In the celebration, men can also be a part of this festival by fasting for their wives. If a woman can fast for the good health of their husband, then why can’t men do the same for their wives? This would make their wives feel special as well as their relationship would get stronger and deeper. Women fast without drinking water and they visit the temples of Lord Shiva after queuing up in a long line. If their husbands can go with their wives to the temples, it would be very supportive of them.

— Sonika Lamichhane

Since my childhood I have been witnessing my mother, aunts and other relatives celebrating Teej wearing red attire, and other beautiful accessories, and I used to be fascinated a lot. My mother used to dress me up as well in traditional wears and she used to buy bangles, clips for me which I used to flaunt the whole day as I accompanied my mother visiting temples for puja. At that time, I was not aware of the significance about women celebrating Teej but when I grew up I started understanding the meaning of celebrating Teej. According to Hindu mythology, it is believed that married women celebrate Teej, take fast for their husbands’ long life and prosperity, whereas unmarried girls fast to get a loving and caring husband. But in recent days, Teej has been redefined and modernised with lots of publicity stuff like showing off by wearing expensive attires to throwing a lavish darr parties before Teej actually arrives. More than having a religious significance of celebrating Teej, many anomalies can be seen. However, men can play a role to make Teej a special occasion for women.

We talk so much about equality these days and believe that men and women are like two wheels of one cart where one is incomplete without the other. So men should also take fast for their wives during Teej to make them feel special.

Men should organise some event as a surprise for their wives where both husband and wife can participate equally and celebrate the festival in a special way along with their friends and families. As Teej is an annual cultural event where women enjoy their womanhood to the fullest by dancing, eating with their friends and family, men in this regard should try to convince women to celebrate Teej remaining under their financial limitations no matter how rich one is. Festivals should be celebrated to have fun, not to show off and this fact should be understood by women.

Most of the men still try to impose their patriarchal thoughts upon women. They feel they are strong and powerful when their wives do something special for them, be it fasting or other things. It is high time now. Along with women, men should also raise their voice and concern on the adverse implication of patriarchal norms and values to women. As long as a festival like Teej is celebrated without reinforcing or reproducing gender stereotypes, it is joyful.

— Tejaswi Pahari, Jawalakhel, Lalitpur

Teej is one of the most special festivals of Hindu Nepali women whether they are married or unmarried. Women celebrate Teej by fasting and worshipping Lord Shiva along with singing, dancing and having darr parties. During Teej, married women fast for their husband’s long life whereas unmarried women fast to get a husband like Lord Shiva.

The festival these days is losing its significance because the way of celebrating has changed as festivals are celebrated more with money and not with the heart. Nowadays, the trend of celebrating Teej has changed. It has become much more than just fasting. These days women start throwing darr parties at least one to two months prior to Teej for their friends, relatives, coworkers, et cetera. Women have a misconception about Teej and darr parties as their right.

Men can play a very significant role to make Teej a special occasion for women and men can raise the importance of Teej by worshipping with their wives and taking care of them while they are fasting. Furthermore, men can organise darr parties for their wives and sisters and men can help their wives in the kitchen at the time of Teej so that women can enjoy the festival completely. Men can make their wives feel special by fasting along with them.

— Roshani Acharya    

The social and cultural richness of Teej festival is very much rooted in the Hindu religion. Married women fast and pray to Lord Shiva for the long life and betterment of their husbands, whereas unmarried women fast hoping to get good husband in the future. Darr (special feasting) is a kind of food festival where women gather, prepare many dishes and eat until a certain time before they start their fasting. In most cases, men also join this darr party. The next day is the day of fasting which is also called Haritalika Teej. On this day some women even go without taking any food and single drop of water.

They wear beautiful red saris, jewellery, bangles et cetera and go to Shiva temples to pray to the God, sing, dance enthusiastically and to enjoy in the process. Even though Teej is an important festival for women, men need to understand the importance of this occasion and the females’ feelings. Every man has to leave their conservative ideas behind. Teej should be a kind of learning forum for men to give rights to women as equal. This forum should raise the issue of violence against women and their rights.

Every man should learn the positive feelings of the festival and behave with females in the right manner. So, let’s all try to provide social prestige to women to improve their physical, mental and educational status and empower them. Like the Sanskrit saying says, “Yatra naarya pujyante ramante tatra devata” meaning “Where women are respected, god will be happy there”.

— Deepak Raj Poudyal, Sukedhara, Kathmandu

In our Hindu culture, we all know that Teej is the most important festival for women. In the name of celebrating the festival, we can see various malpractices have been increasing. Whether dancing to English songs or Hindi songs to inappropriate songs, there have been many malpractices. Similarly, women are having darr with their friends by dancing to loud numbers and this is creating a woeful situation.

While we are talking about the male’s role in this festival, males should not allow their wives to dance to improper western songs so that this festival doesn’t have a negative connotation. And, of course, husbands should not give permission to their wives to go to other women’s houses for such frivolous celebration. In such a way, I think this Teej festival which is an important festival of women is going to be far better than which is right now.

— Saroj Wagle, Dumarwana, Bara