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  • » 09/18/2012, 00.00

    NEPAL

    Teej festival honouring women divides Nepal between rich and poor

    Kalpit Parajuli

    Because of the economic crisis, only the rich can enjoy the celebration. Women exchange gifts and fast for their husbands' longevity. Local media now report that some women have sold a kidney to get money to buy jewels and the traditional red sari.

    Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - The festival of Teej, which sees wives fast in honour of Shiva and for their husbands' longevity, is dividing Nepali society. Celebrations began today across the country, but if high caste women mark the occasion with temple visits and dances where they can show off their clothes and jewellery, working class women cannot even get a day off.

    In many parts of the country, religious authorities did not inform the public of the date of the festivity in order to exclude lower castes. And according to Nepalis media, some women sold a kidney to buy jewels and the traditional red sari in order to participate in celebrations.

    "In the past few years, Teej has become a fashionable event," said Hindu culture expert Govinda Tandon. However, "Only the country's rich and powerful families can take part. By contrast, most Nepali women live in poverty and cannot even afford a meal day. This offends Hinduism and divides society."

    According to the tradition, women wearing a red sari meet to exchange food, clothes and jewels a day before they fast.

    "Only some can respect religious traditions," said Rima Dahal, a Hindu woman who works for a construction company in Kathmandu. "If I miss a day of work, no one will feed my children. There are no festivities for me."

    She blames a corrupt ruling class, one that uses festivities to lead a trendy lifestyle instead of helping the people.

    Rekha Thapa, a famous Nepali actress, also criticised Teej's commercialisation. On TV, she said that Hinduism has "divided Nepali society between haves and have-nots."

     

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    See also

    10/09/2013 NEPAL
    Nepal : Teej festival, a hymn to the materialism of Hindu women
    The celebrations in honor of the goddess Parvati and her marital devotion to Shiva increasingly show the gap between rich and poor. Traditionally, the women, dressed in a red sari , exchange gifts and jewelry, a day before the holy fasting .

    01/09/2011 NEPAL
    Hindu, Muslim and Christian women come out in defence of religious freedom
    During celebrations honouring Lord Shiva, Hindu women criticise proposed amendments to the penal code that would ban conversions. For them, such changes reflect the view of rightwing politicians, not all the people.

    14/09/2010 NEPAL
    Hindu women celebrate festival, sing and dance for secular state
    The festival of Teej, which includes fasting, fell on the same day Muslims celebrated Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan. The two festivities provide an opportunity to demand a truly secular state in which all religions are respected. Participants also call for an end to political games that have blocked a new constitution so far.

    06/03/2013 NEPAL
    Nepal, in honor of Shiva women gurus can also go naked
    Until now, only male gurus could beg without clothes. To avoid speculation and cases of prostitution, the government creates the "ID for devotees." Among the most important festivals of the Hindu calendar, the Mahashivaratri gathers hundreds of thousands of people from Nepal and India.

    03/09/2008 NEPAL
    Nepal: between tradition and modernity, Hindu women celebrate the Teej
    The Hindu festival, during which women ask to meet the man of their dreams or to have a happy marriage, has also become an occasion for demanding "greater rights and freedoms". Holiday greetings from Prime Minister Prachanda and President Ram Baran Yadav.



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