Hariyali Teej is celebrated on the third day of the Shukla Paksh in the month of Shravana and is a major festival for the women. They pray for the long life of their husbands on this day.
It is said that the fast was first observed by Goddess Parvati, who was the daughter of Daksha. Pleased by this, Lord Shiva accepted her as his wife. This festival holds a spiritual, religious as well as social importance in Hinduism. Since it falls in the month of Shravana, it is also known as Shravana Teej.
The fast is observed by worshipping Lord Shiva. Women observe Nirjala fast, which is performed by abstaining even from water for the whole day. They stay without food and water for the whole day and eat only on the next morning after having performed the puja once again.
The festival is significant from the social perspective as women go and meet their friends on this day. They gather and put up large swings under trees as well as play games. Fairs are organised in places and religious processions displaying the events from the life of Goddess Parvati are carried out in the streets.
It is said that Goddess Parvati had observed this fast for thousands of years. Some even believe that the Goddess had to take 108 births before getting Lord Shiva as her husband, and when he got pleased with her prayers, he gave her the boon of becoming his wife. It is believed that if unmarried women observe this fast, all the problems in their marriage will be solved. Thus, the fast is observed by the women in order to ensure the protection and safety of their husbands and for a happy married life.
Every fast begins with performing puja before the deity in the Brahma Muhurta. Women wear green coloured dresses and put on all the sixteen forms of shringaar. It is said that this shringaar should come from the woman's native place as a gift for her. After this, they should light the lamp before Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. They offer the sixteen shringaars to the Goddess as well.
Thereafter, the vrat katha, is narrated and the aarti is offered to the deities. Any sweet dish prepared at home can be offered as bhog or prasad to them. This prasad has to be distributed among all the family members and devotees after the completion of the puja.
In the evening the women gather up and enjoy the games, dance and sing songs until the sunset. Another puja is performed after the sunset, after which the women gather around and sing devotional songs observing a whole night vigil.
It is said a woman who observes this fast with utmost dedication, surely gets the blessings of Lord Shiva as well as Goddess Parvati. Both of them grant a happy married life to the woman.
Besides this, Varun Dev, the water God, is also worshipped by some communities, on this day.
The festival is significant not just for the married and the single women, it is even more important for those who have been engaged already. Her future in-laws bring the set of all sixteen shringaars along with sweets and fruits, as a ritual on this day. This set of presents for the woman is known as Sindhara. This ritual is mainly followed in northern parts of India.