Hartalika Teej 2023: Date, Time, Significance And Foods To Eat
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One of the most important festivals for Hindus across India and the world, Hartalika Teej is especially vital for women. Among the three main Teej festivals that are celebrated in the Sawan and Bhadrapada months of the Hindu calendar, Hartalika Teej is usually observed on the Tritiya Tithi of the Shukla Paksha date during the month of Bhadrapada. In 2023, the festival of Hartalika Teej will be observed on September 18, 2023. Here is everything you need to know about the festival and how to celebrate it. 

The Significance Of Hartalika Teej 

For those unaware, Hartalika Teej is celebrated to mark a story related to the union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, with a special focus on everything the Goddess did to be worthy of her husband’s love and devotion. Hartalika Teej marks the day when Goddess Parvati, whose father detested Lord Shiva and wanted her to marry Lord Vishnu, ran away to the deep forests with the help of her friends. In the forest, she pledged herself to Lord Shiva and did rigorous Tapasya or penance to be united with him. 

So, Hartalika Teej, even today, is a time when women do penance and worship the union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, in the hopes that they too will be blessed with such a successful union. 

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Hartalika Teej: Puja Timings And Rituals 

This year, Hartalika Teej will be celebrated on September 18, 2023. The muhurat for the puja will start at 11.08PM on September 17 and end at 12.39PM on September 18. 

As mentioned before, Hartalika Teej is celebrated to mark the union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. So, it is ritual to worship Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati and their family on this day. Especially important for married women, Hartalika Teej is the occasion when married women observe a day-long fast which is Narijala or without water to highlight the rigorous penance done by Goddess Parvati. Married women gather together before the Hartalika Teej muhurat, apply mehendi on their hands, get dressed in new clothes and jewellery and perform puja, sing folk songs and chant mantras. 

Usually, the day of Hartalika Puja begins with a thorough cleaning of the home, followed by a bath and dressing up with all the markers of marriages (sindoor, mehendi, alta, etc.). Then, married women pledge to observe the Hartalika Puja fast, eat a few ritual foods and water, and then do not consume any food or water until the puja timings are done and the fast can be broken. As for the puja, the Shodashopachara Puja dedicated to the union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati is then done, followed by the Anga Puja of Goddess Parvati. It is also ritual for women to come together and listen to the entire Hartalika Vrat Katha which narrates the story behind the union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. 

Hartalika Teej: Special Foods For The Occasion 

As mentioned before, Hartalika Teej is celebrated by married women with a special ritual fast that is conducted without any consumption of food and water. Because this is a very rigorous fast, Hartalika Teej fast is observed mostly by married women who are healthy. Those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or unwell are usually recommended to skip the fast and follow a simple sattvik diet for the day in accordance with Hindu rituals. For those who are keeping the fast, it is ritual to consume a few auspicious foods before the fast begins and then break the fast with another set of ritual foods. 

The beginning of the fast starts with a Sargi, or a gift of auspicious food and cosmetics that hold significance for married women. The Sargi usually includes sindoor, mehendi and foods like curd, milk, fresh fruits and sweets. Seasonal and nutritious fruits like watermelon, guava, pomegranate, apples and oranged are usually consumed before the fast begins along with sweets like Gujiya, Ghewar, Malpua, Kheer and Nariyal Laddoo. Plenty of water is also recommended for women who observe the Nirjala Hartalika Teej fast. Dry fruits, nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, figs, cashews and pistachios are also consumed at this time. 

While many women avoid drinking any water during Hartalika Teej, it is now considered to be a dehydrating aspect of the fast, which is why many women choose to forego solid food but consume auspicious and sattvik beverages like lemon water and coconut water. Eating onion, garlic and all Tamasic or Rajasik foods is not allowed during Hartalika Teej—a list that includes all sorts of meat, non-vegetarian food, alcohol and intoxicants of every kind. Consuming foods that are too rich and spicy is also not allowed during Hartalika Teej.