In Goa ‘Tai’ or ‘Hartalika’ is celebrated a day prior to Ganesh Chaturthi. It holds great significance to married and unmarried Hindu women; as on this day they perform various rituals, puja and observe a fast. NT BUZZ learns more
VENITA GOMES| NT BUZZ
Goddess Parvati, the wife of Shiva is considered to be a goddess of fertility, love and devotion. She has many names Uma, Gauri, Durga, Kali, etc and is considered a divine symbol of strength.
Both Lord Shiva and Parvati are considered an ideal couple. Therefore, prior to Chaturthi both married and unmarried women seek their blessings. Married women observe the ‘Hartalika Vrat’ seeking a happy married life; while unmarried women pray for a husband like Lord Shiva.
“It is believed that Goddess Parvati underwent penance for years in order to marry Shiva. She learnt that her father wanted her to get married, but she wanted to marry Lord Shiva. To prevent her from being married against her wishes, her friend took her to a forest. Parvati then underwent penance and observing her love, Lord Shiva agreed to marry her,” explains Sanquelim-based Shraddha Kelkar.
In order to commemorate the day when Lord Shiva accepted Parvati’s love, Hartalika is celebrated. “This day is also marked as a day of friendship as ‘sakhi’ a friend of Parvati helped her. Therefore certain communities keep an idol of Parvati along with ‘sakhi’, and a linga, and worship the three,” adds Kelkar.
Observing the fast
On this day, the women have a bath in the morning and then worship the idols of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. They chant hymns and observe the ‘Nishivasar Nirjala Vrat’ and don’t drink water or consume any food until the next day.
“It is one of the most difficult fasts as women have to be part of the rituals and puja and at the same time not consume anything. Usually, women are not supposed to consume food items containing garlic or onion from Shravan, but today not everyone follows it. However on this day, women are strictly forbidden from eating anything,” says writer and journalist, Kalika Bapat.
Following the rituals
While certain families do the puja on their own, others invite a Hindu priest to perform the rituals.
Haldi-kumkum, coconuts, incense sticks, kapur, diyas with oil and cotton wicks, 12 betel leaves, 10 suparis, a little jaggery, 5 almonds, a bunch of bananas and other seasonal fruits, durva and tulsi leaves, panchamrut (milk, curds, ghee, honey and sugar) and akshata (rice grains) are required for the puja.
Also, different types of ‘Patri’ like ashok, aavli, kanher, kadamb, brahmi, dhotra, aghadi bel, etc are offered.
During the puja, the goddess is offered all the things that are given to married women like kajal, mehendi, kum kum, turmeric, flowers etc along with a saree. Lord Shiva is offered a dhoti and uttariyam. After this the Haritalika teej vrat katha is read or recited.
“On this day Parvati is also offered food items and sweets that do not contain salt. As Parvati had cravings as she was to give birth to Ganesh, the food is prepared without salt. ‘Patoleos’ are prepared without the stuffing of coconut and jaggery. Also, five different leaf vegetable dishes are prepared,” says Shaila Sinari from Panaji.
The puja concludes with coconuts being offered to every married lady attending and participating in the puja ceremony. Some even distribute the coconuts/ vaina after the ceremony is over.