By Rajesh KC
Rishi Panchami is celebrated by women, particularly in the hill region and the plains of Terai. Rishi Panchami falls a day after Teej. Though the way Teej is celebrated may differ according to different geographical regions, the festival holds a deep and moral significance among Hindu women. The festival is important because it is the time when Hindu women express how much devoted they are to their husbands.
Teej falls in August/September and women of all castes, class and culture celebrate it merrily. In the morning of Teej, women prepare themselves for fasting, while in the afternoon they sing, dance and worship Hindu deity – Lord Shiva. It is believed that when pleased Shiva, in return, will bless their spouse with long life. Women, clad in beautiful red saris and jewelry, visit Lord Shiva™s temples to make offerings.
Rishi Panchami festival is also associated with women, and women on this day worship Sapta Rishi (seven saints). It is believed that worshiping Shapta Rishi, they ask forgiveness for any sin committed during their monthly periods throughout the year. In Hindu religion, menstruation is taken as a symbol of impurity and women are not supposed to take part in religious practices during their periods. Thus, it is believed that Rishi Panchami is the occasion to wash off one’s impurity of the whole year. The rituals seem peculiar but women practice it happily.
On this day of the Shravan full moon, stars other than the planets are worshipped. In Vedic times it was believed that the spirits of certain departed great sages of the earth were believed to inhabit certain stars, the most famous being the constellation Ursa Major i.e. the seven brightest stars of the north (The Great Bear). Later, the seers became identified with the stars they inhabited. The seven worshipped on Rishi Fifth are – Kasyapa, Atri, Bharadvaja, Visvamitra, Gautama, Jamadagni and Vashishta. Rishi Panchami (Seers fifth) is also observed on Bhadrapada sukla fifth as Atonement.
All pictures are taken in Kumbheswore of Patan.
All pics by Rajesh KC