That time of the month.oops.I mean year, is here again. It is tij once more as us women folk across Nepal come together in a festival of sisterhood.
Tij is traditionally celebrated by Hindu women on behalf of their husbands. Let's not go into the gory details of how it started but Parbati reportedly wanted desperately to marry Shiva and the romance had a happy ending because she fasted for him. So women through the ages have fasted to replicate the success of our most popular divine couple.
The colour for tij is red which denotes the married status of women. Not to mention love, lust, passion, prosperity and even communism (though I don't think that counts here). The celebrations kick off almost a week or two in advance when women start shopping for the festival.
The shopping takes on mammoth proportions should you have a married daughter in the house as there have to be saris, bangles, tika and food bought not only for the daughter but her mother-in-law and possibly every other woman in her house as well.The evening before the fasting is the dar khane party when women gorge themselves to their heart's content.
Tij is ultimately a celebration of womanhood despite its tradition in fasting for the husband's health and wealth. Tij is for mothers, daughters, sisters, sister-in-laws and friends to meet up. It is their time to let their hair down and rejoice in their femaleness.
There is the traditional way to celebrate tij and there are some slightly unconventional ways. But however it is done, this year let men and women celebrate tij together. We offer 10 suggestions:
It resulted in the downfall of Eve and there is no reason why it shouldn't result in the downfall of your wife. So this tij follow your wife around all day with food items trying to tempt her to eat to get rid of your own guilt at watching her starve while you gorge yourself.
Drinking is always a good option on any day during any festival at any time- though we recommend you start from dawn. Who wants to wake up early to go stand in lines for hours? We say hit the bottle early and keep it up all day-you might have a hell of a hangover the next day but trust us, it will be worth it.
3 Organise a Tij Couples Party
This could be fun and it entails that the menfolk get to get into some of the action as well. Organise a tij party, starting from the dar khane and then the next day everyone fasts together. Make sure they are all couples, after all you do not want to do this alone.
4 Dress up
For once, instead of the wife showing her commitment by wearing red, both partners should wear red. Dress up in matching red clothes and go out. Even if you are staying at home, going to work or just hanging out, wear red.
5 Go Bungy Jumping
.or some other equally death-defying holiday. It will get the adrenaline pumping while engendering a newfound respect for life. Tij is about praying for long life so you can actually put your faith to the test.
6 Ladies Night Out
Tij is supposed to be about women right? So then why do all the temple tours happen during the day? This tij, give the men the keys to the house and the children (don't forget to tell them where the nappies are) and go out on the town. Get all your girlfriends together and have a huge girls night out.
7 Dinner and Dancing
So you men didn't like the idea of sitting at home while the missus was out? Instead of letting your wife fast take her out for dinner and dont forget the dancing, afterall you do want to get rid of those calories.
8 Renew your vows
Did I hear someone say, "What vows"? A simple way to reaffirm your commitment to each other would be to take the fast together. And it is also a great way to detox your body.
9 Pamper your wife
It is her day. It is about womanhood. Today pamper your wife. Let her sleep in late, bring her breakfast in bed, cook her lunch, clean the house, look after the kids, shower her with love and, best of all, buy her flowers.
As with any festival, tij means a lot of spending. This year, don't spend that money, collect it and in fact, ask everyone who sends you dar also to send money instead. Donate the lot to the most deserving charity. And then go on a tij hunger strike.