Hindu women fasting for husbands
Hindu women in Nepal have been fasting and praying for their husbands’ well-being and longevity. The rituals are part of the annual festival known as Teej, which usually includes visits to temples of the god Lord Shiva.
“We are celebrating this festival, because it’s our culture and we love it,” one woman, Bimala Sharma, told the BBC in the capital, Kathmandu.
Similar festivals are also observed in northern India.
On the streets of Kathmandu, several groups of women in red saris were seen singing and dancing as they walked to the holy Pashupatinath temple of Lord Shiva, one of Hinduism’s holiest shrines.
Traditionally, the Queen of Nepal also visits the temple on this day.
The red saris adorned with ornaments signify that the women are happily married.
Bimala Sharma and other women took part in midnight feasts late on Thursday before starting their fast.
Bimala’s sister, Mathura, said: “For us, it’s also a time to get together with our married sisters and other friends and childhood playmates.”
Some women abstain from water, as well as food, during the fast.
They believe the fast will bring good fortune to their husbands and offspring.
Strict observers of the fast only break it after worshipping Lord Shiva and taking a holy bath the day after the Teej festival.
Nepalese Hindu women have been celebrating the Teej festival since time immemorial.
The tradition, they believe, goes back to mythological times when the goddess Parvati observed a similar fast and prayed that she could marry Lord Shiva.
Unmarried young girls also observe the fast, praying for well-being of their beloved ones or asking god to find a good husband.