Teej used to be a festival of women folks in traditional Hindu society, but now it is more a community event, not without men. Teej celebration has crossed the borderline of purely ‘Hindu’ practice to become a festival of women socialization, sensitizing the feminist power to appease God and seek protection to the family, while showing a degree of love and devotion to the masculine element of the nature. BNS attempted to reach various cities of US states and other places in North America, to get a glimpse of this festive occasion.
Here is the snapshot of what we received :
RN Pokhrel in Pittsburgh: Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh (BCAP), organized ‘Teej-2015’ as a part of Women Empowerment program. Over 1200 women attended the event organized at Saint Anne School, Castle Shannon, and Pittsburgh, Pa 15234. Volleyball for youths, songs and dances followed by mass Daar on behalf of the community were the attractions of the event.
Hasta Bhattarai from Chicago: Teej was celebrated by the community on a city park space, managed by the community organization-Bhutanese community association of Illinois. Uma Mishra, Dilli Acharya and Ram Subba played a key role in managing the event. Food, dance and some poems, folk stories of Bhutan and Nepal, were other attractions. A skit based on the relationships between women in the family, was also shown.
BM Dhakal in Louisville: In Louisville, Teej was celebrated at a church space that was regularly used for ACT preparation class run by Bhutanese Society of Kentucky. BSK and Bhutanese Hindu community collaborated in managing the event. A large crowd of around three hundred people- men and women, old and young, gathered and danced to the popular teej songs. Teejako rahara aayo bari lai dominated the stage and floor, opened by the dual dance of Lucky Rai and Dolma Tamang. Sangeeni was played by a group of elder women. “It was a huge turn out to mark this festive event, more than expected”, said Jiwan Bista, the president of BSK.
Kazi Gautam in Syracuse: Bhutanese Community in Syracuse (BCS) Inc. marked Haritalika Teej 2072 amidst a big gathering of nearly 200 people on Saturday, September 12th.
The event kicked off with the candle lightning by Menuka Raut, an elderly member of the community.
A group of small children did a welcome dance followed by number of exciting songs and dances. Devi Maya Adhikari highlighted through her brief speech, a history and importance of Teej celebration.
Nepali singer Sangita Thapa Magar expressed her happiness that Bhutanese-Nepalese have been playing a major role in promoting and preserving Nepalese culture. She presented few Teej songs, men and women went along with her, dancing.
A group of middle aged women performed a dance on festival song, jaba aaunchha najik chahad ra prava. The performance was liked by many, and expressed that it was the heart of the event.
Elderly women of the community sang and danced Sangeeni that was composed on the theme of eviction from Bhutan.
This year’s event was organized by the women wing of BCS, and sponsored by local entrepreneurs. The event took place at the auditorium of Franklin Elementary school.
CM Niroula and Bhagirath Khatiwoda in New Hampshire: The Women Council of Bhutanese Community of New Hampshire (BCNH) organized the event of Teej celebration on Saturday, September 12, 12 to 5 pm at Currier Museum of Art in the city of Manchester. The objective of the event was women empowerment and engagement through culture.
Bishnu Koirala, a member of organizing committee, delivered the welcome speech and extended her best wishes to all the participants. During her deliberation, she urged all Nepali-speaking Bhutanese women who are living in different parts of the world to stay connected with their culture and share the beauty of this valuable culture to the youths. “I would like to thank all the volunteers including the employees of BCNH for their support in making this event a great success,” she said.
Speaking on the importance of this festival, Dilu Rasaily, an active volunteer and a participant of the event expressed that this was the day Parvati came to the Shiva’s abode, marking the union of the husband and wife.
The festival was marked by colorful celebrations, particularly by the womenfolk, who enjoyed songs and dances. Women decorated themselves with mehendi (henna), bright colored sari and adorned with jewelry. Over 200 women participated on this auspicious occasion.
Dhaka Timsina in Michigan: No organized community event took place, but Teej celebration among the extended families and relatives continue, gathering for delicacies and dance in private residences. “Teej is being observed in the same traditional fashion as used to be in Bhutan and Nepal,” reported Dhaka Timsina for BNS.
Rom Bista in Tennessee: The Hindu community in Nashville gathered in a rented space of global mall for the teej celebration. It was not the event organized by Bhutanese community of Tennessee, but self-motivated people took the initiative. Rom Bista and Charan Timsina coordinated the event. It was attended by some hundred people. Food was brought by the attendees and shared by all.
Coumbus OH: Laxmi Rasaily, vice-president of Bhutanese Nepali Community of Columbus (BNCC), reported the celebration of Teej festival in Columbus. According to Laxmi the event was organized on Saturday, September 12, at her own initiative in the BNCC resource center and Vedic Welfare Society of Columbus. “It was a great turn out of the people, across all the religious groups, attended by around four hundred men, women and children”, reported Laxmi. The event was sponsored by Vedic welfare Society of Columbus, individuals Jhuma Nath Acharya and Roshan Shankar and local Nepali stores- South Asian Bazaar, Asia Clothing & Accessories, Fancy Fashion Clothing.
” I would like to appreciate and thank my team Tika Lamitarey, Khileshshwari Sharma , Arjun Rasaily and all the sponsors, cook and everyone who helped us to make this event a great success,” added Laxmi in her report to BNS.
In a separate event in Columbus, another group of women gathered for a potluck vegetarian dishes in a free space in the University campus, where around seventy people showed up. According to Nirmala Ghimirey, it was an informal gathering of Nepali speaking women, both from Nepal residing in Columbus and resettled Bhutanese in Columbus.
Tasmania, Australia: Far off in the island of Tasmania, resettled Bhutanese celebrated the Teej festival on Friday, September 18 with all observations and funfair. Panchami puja, a worship and offering to Lord Shiva took place in Migrant Resource Center, Launceston. Over one hundred, mostly females, from Bhutanese community attended the celebration organized by Launceston Bhajan Mandali (PrayerGroup) . Many of the guests from wider community invited to join the celebration also attended in traditional Nepali attire and enjoyed the open dance on the floor, that went for hours. The program was supported by Bhutanese society of Northern Tasmania and Migrant Resource Center, Launceston. The puja was presided by priest Kamal Khanal.
In report received late from Akron, Mahananda Luitel reported that Greater Akron Hindu Sewa Samittee organized Hindu women festival, “Haritalika Teej” at Water Works Park, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio on Friday, 18th September, 2015.
Though it was typical Hindu women festival, people from other religious minorities- Kirat, Magar, Buddhist and local Americans participated in the event with live dances and music. In fact, diverse sections of people actively took part in the function. Digital Editor/ Reporter from WKSU, Kent State University, MS M.L Schultz was present for the news coverage. Some five hundred people attended the observation.
Some five hundred people attended the event. Priest Narad Timsina presided the Panchami puja.
Meanwhile, according to our correspondent Hem Rizal, approximately 500 attended the Teej celebration organized by resettled Bhutanese women in Des, Iowa on Saturday, September 12th. Participants included women of all ages, according to him.