Kajari Teej, also known as Badi Teej is a popular festival for women of North India. Women of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Bihar celebrate the festival on the third day of the dark fortnight of Bhadrapada month (August-September), according to Hindu calendar. The festival also welcomes the fresh showers of rain after scorching heat.
In Rajasthan, especially in a city named Bundi, people carry out a huge procession in which an idol of Parvati is decorated with gold jewelry and flowers and taken all around the city in a palanquin. It is accompanied by decorated elephants and camels. Many fairs are also organized by the local communities which are attended by women. They dress in beautiful, bright colored clothes and apply henna. They indulge themselves in folk dances like Ghoomar It is the traditional folk dance of Rajasthan in which women take several rounds wearing beautiful long skirts, also known as ‘ghaghara’
and Bhavia It is a folk dance of Rajasthan in which numerous earthen pots are balanced on heads and then the performers dance. At times they also dance on the rim of the brass plates, broken piecesof glasses and bed of nails
and also enjoy rides organized for them. Swings are made by putting ropes on tree branches and decorating them. Women ride them while singing traditional songs. Food is one of the specialty of such festivals. A whole range of sweets are prepared and relished like Ghevar, It is a sweet dish in a disc-shape, made up of flour. It is covered and soaked in sugar syrup and is often prepared for the festivals in monsoon Malpua It is a sweet pancake made up of bananas, coconut, flour, water and milk. It is very popular in Rajasthan, West Bengal, Odisha and Maharashtra
Some specific songs are also sung on the day which has a significant history too. According to a legend, there was a dense forest which was known as Kajali. The region was a peaceful and prosperous one and was ruled by a king named Dadurai. People living in the region were so happy about their surroundings and their lifestyles that they use to sing songs for the magnificent place. They were happy songs but only till the time the King was alive. When he died, his wife burned herself on the pyre of her husband and the people of the kingdom became sad. They then improvised the songs and called them Kajari songs. They were based on the feeling of separation. Therefore some songs are sung on this day to welcome the rainy days and some in the memories of the loved ones who have been lost or separated.
Stories Narrated while Performing Puja
While offering prayers, ladies sit in a circle while one of them narrates the importance of keeping a fast on this day through two different stories. According to one story there was a man who had seven sons. The daughter-in-laws use to worship a neem tree on Kajari teej and every time such kind of ritual was performed one of the son use to die. Six of the sons expired and no one could understand the mistake that they were committing. Now it was the time for the youngest daughter-in-law to perform the ritual. Rather than worshipping the neem tree, she broke a branch and worshipped it. No harm came to her husband. She asked her six sister-in-laws to perform the ritual exactly like her as it was the right way of doing so. Soon their husbands came back to life and were blessed with long lives.
According to another story a lady was unhappy of her husband as he use to visit a prostitute and was also affected by leprosy. Once she came across a river in which a cone was filled with water. She heard a voice that if she drinks the water, go home and worship a branch of neem and drink un-boiled milk seven times then her husband will be cured of the disease and will always stay with her. She did as she was told and prediction came true. Thus women who observe the fast on this day and perform all the rituals in the right manner are gifted with the long lives of their husbands.
Kajari Teej is celebrated by married women to celebrate their nuptial bond and by unmarried ladies to get a good husband. Married women present their dedication and devotion towards their husbands through this day. They pray for the long lives of their husbands and life-long marital bliss.