Monday Aug 8, 2022
Monday Aug 8, 2022

Haritalika Teej being celebrated in low-key manner amid pandemic


Nepalnews
2021 Sep 09, 10:56, Kathmandu
File - This image shows a group of women dancing while celebrating Haritalika Teej festival on the premises of a temple in Lalitpur, on August 31, 2011. Photo courtesy: Ganesh Paudel via wikipedia

Hindu women are celebrating Haritalika Teej across the country today. Due to the smart lockdown imposed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the festivities have been toned down this year as well.

Usually, women wear red saris or costumes, observe fasting, dance during the day and offer their prayers to Lord Shiva on Teej.

The devotees and revellers women throng the temples of Lord Shiva including the Pashupatinath Temple of Kathmandu.

However, the Pashupatinath temple which has been closed for devotees since late April this year will open from the coming Friday only. Citing that the threat of the coronavirus infection has declined, Pashupati Area Development Trust has said that the temple will be reopened from 5:30 am. The meeting of the PADT's security committee held on Wednesday decided to open the temple from Friday. The PADT is preparing to hold a "kshama Puja" (worshipping of deity asking pardon) today for closing the temple to the devotees for four and a half months.

Since the risk of viral infection has not been completely neutralised, the PADT has planned to keep the temple open till 1:00 pm only. It has been made mandatory for devotees visiting the temple to wear masks and follow the health protocol prescribed by the Ministry of Health and Population. Only 25 devotees will be allowed to enter the temple at a time.

The arrangements have been made for devotees to enter the temple through one door and exit through the other door.

Many revellers are by and large confined to their homes in the view of the spread of COVID-19. as the prohibitory order issued by the three district administration offices of Kathmandu valley have urged the general public to maintain physical distance and to avoid the places that witness crowds.

Teej is celebrated for three days. The festival combines gatherings‚ singing‚ dancing, eating and fasting. The first day is called "Dar Khane Din" during which the women visit places of their kin and friends and relish eating various delicacies. The second day is the fasting day or the main day of Teej. The final day of the festival is Rishi Panchami which fall on Saturday this year. Women break their fast after performing puja of Sapta Rishi on the final day of the celebration.

Earlier in March, despite the closure of the Pashupatinath temple for devotees for nine months after the first wave of the pandemic, the temple was opened full-time on the occasion of the Mahashivaratri festival. But it was shut down again in view of the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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