Carolina Rajasthani Association
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Festivals

GANGUAR

Gangaur festival is celebrated during March / April months in and around Rajasthan for a duration of 16 days.

Gangaur is a significant festival of Jaipur, especially meant for the women. Gangaur festival is widely acclaimed and celebrated throughout the state of Rajasthan. The word Gangaur is derived from two words, 'Gan' and 'Gauri' which are synonyms of 'Siva' and his consort 'Parvati' respectively. The festival of Gangaur starts with the subsequent day of and persists for about 2 weeks. Gangaur is celebrated in the honor of Goddess Gauri, who is considered as the symbol of virtue, devotion, fertility and a perfect married woman.

The womenfolk of Rajasthan worship Gauri with all the means of devotion. The married women worship Gauri for the well-being of their husband, while the unmarried girls worship the goddess to get the husband of their choice. The festival begins with the custom of gathering ashes from the Holi Fire and burying the seeds of barley in it. After it, the seeds are watered everyday awaiting the germination.

The ceremony takes place with the praiseful songs for Isar (Siva) and Gauri. The women apply henna on their hands to celebrate the auspicious festival. They carry painted matkas (water pots) on their heads. They also make images of Gauri and Isar with clay. On the seventh evening after Holi, unmarried girls assemble and take out a procession with 'Ghudlia' (an earthen pot with holes around and a lamp inside) on their heads. The ceremony continues for a fortnight. The girls are gifted with sweets, ghee and cash by the elders.

During the last days of the festival, the celebration reaches to its height. On the final day, lively images of Gauri are taken out in procession escorted by traditionally dressed camels, bullock carts, horses and elephants. Songs are sung about the departure of Gauri to her husband's home. The procession is wrapped up with the breaking of pots and throwing the trash into a tank or pond. This traditional festival of Gangaur is celebrated in Jaipur from ages and forms a special attraction for any visitor.



TEEJ

Badi Teej, or Kajli Teej, is observed in the Bhadrapad month and is an important observance in Rajasthan and other parts of North India. It is observed by married and unmarried women on the third day of the waning phase of moon in Bhadrapad month.

Married women fast on the day for the welfare of their husbands and for a peaceful and happy life. Unmarried women observe Badi Teej fasting for getting a good husband.

One day prior to Teej, there is the Sinjara or Singhara (mehendi ceremony) and women get gifts and they go on a shopping spree on the day.

On the Badi Teej day, women fast from morning to sighting of moon. The prayers are dedicated to the Neem tree, referred as Neem Mata. In some regions the prayers and fasting is dedicated to Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva. This is one among the three important Teej festivals in a year. Badi Teej is also known as Sathu Teej and Kajari Teej.

Kajari Teej, or Kajri Teez, is observed by women on the third day after Shravan Poornima and it is second among the three Teej festivals – the other two being Hariyali and Hartalika Teej. It is mainly observed by married women and young girls and is dedicated to Lord Krishna.  Kajri Teez is mainly celebrated in Bundi in Rajasthan and in some parts of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar.

Kajari Teej is dedicated to Lord Krishna and special pujas and prayers are also offered to the neem tree. On the day, women and girls wear colorful new clothes and dance and make merry. A community puja is performed around a neem tree. Specific rituals are performed by elderly women and young women learn the tradition and perform it.

Special swings are prepared for the day and women take turns in swinging while other women sing and dance. Songs sung on the day welcomes the monsoon rains and praise the love of Krishna and Radha.


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