The Bihar Jharkhand Samaj of Australia and New Zealand on Monday, September 2 celebrated the Teej festival with the community members in a private residence in Papatoetoe.

Given a small presence of the Bihar and Jharkhand community in Auckland, the community members arranged a small function in South Auckland where members gathered to conduct special puja and celebrations.

“A number of Bihari families assembled at the Papatoetoe residence of Rani and Amit Singh where women attired in colorful saris and shining bangles, performed the Teej puja,” President of Bihar Jharkhand Sabha of Australia and New Zealand, Nisheeth Prakash said.

“The enthusiasm to participate in the celebration and the puja this year was quite overwhelming, and many couples participating in the fast and the puja have young families, and the excitement among the children was a treat to the eyes,” Mr Prakash added.

On the occasion of Teej, women receive gifts of new saris, shining bangles from their parents and parents-in-law. Married women fast for 24 hours and some fast without water for the longevity of the lives of their husbands while unmarried women fast and pray to get a decent life partner.

“The fast starts in the morning and concludes on the following morning with puja and prayers. Sweets offered to the deities on this occasion are gujia (pedakia) and thekua along with offerings of seasonal fruit,” Mr Prakash added.

Hartalika Teej falls on the third day of the luminous fortnight (Shukla Paksha) of Bhadrapad, and it is one of the most important festivals celebrated northern India, especially popular in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

Hartalika Teej is also celebrated in the southern part of India where it is known as Gowri Habba, particularly in Karnataka. It is said that Teej festival celebrates the union of Goddess Parvati for her husband Lord Shiva and fasting on Teej will empower their love for their partners as strong as Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

“A few families living in the western part of Auckland could not join the celebrations due to work as it occasion fell on a working day,” Mr Prakash said.