Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Teej Festival - Kathmandu

Don't you want to call out to these girls to turn around so you can see their faces? 

By a stroke of luck, we arrived in Kathmandu on the second day of Teej, a Hindu celebration for women. Three of these women were dressed for the occasion. Like all Hindu rituals and celebrations, it's complicated. To sum up, it's three days during which women fast, honor their husbands and families and then break the fast with a big feast.

Almost every Hindu woman in Kathmandu attends the temple on the second day when it was reported that 1 million women stood in line to do their duty. We saw women in line for what seemed like a mile in several directions leading to the Pashupatinath temple. Most were dressed in red and green saris with plenty of glitter and they were heavily jeweled; all the stops come out for this day. I've never seen so many beautiful women and girls in one spot. They'd been fasting for approximately a day when we hit the scene and it was fiercely warm in the sun. The married women fast hoping for everlasting intimacy between couples and for prosperity; the single women fast anticipating a good husband. Everyone was orderly and smiling and seemed happy. Richard quickly observed that if a million men were hungry and waiting in a line in the sun, all hell would break loose. He said, "They'd need fire hoses!" 

It was a photographer's dream but we tried not to be too obtrusive. The women were warm and welcoming. Zuzu quickly got in the middle of it, like she does. 

This was the scene in a small village at the end of the three days with offerings and food gathered together while the women prayed to seven holy saints.The women of the village listened to an elder, a man, reading holy scripture to them, which wrapped up the celebration until the next year. The woman are restored in faith, in their commitment to their marriages and families. Rather than a duty, it looked like everyone had a wonderful time.
Hennaed hands of little girls. The adult women had more professional looking artistry than the kids did, but the playfulness of these caught our eyes.

Later during our time in "Kat" we stumbled on the shops which sell necklaces. The green and yellow ones indicate marriage - "I'm taken!" The shops sold all colors, but the yellow and green predominated. The elderly ladies were taking a break from bead stringing and having a chat.
After the party was over...women waiting for the bus. Everyone had a cell phone just like all over the world. I'm not sure why she was waving her phone at us. Maybe it's the new Iphone 6?

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