|Posted on December 17, 2011 at 10:30 PM|
On August 31st, the women of the advanced sewing class invited me to their colorful Hindu festival known as Teej. Our women worship in a collection of rented rooms inside a professional building in Clarkston. Bhutanese Hinduism has added Buddha as one of the many gods.
Teej combines lavish feasts, strict fasting, and worship. A primary item worshiped during Teej is the Lingam, the phallic symbol of their god Shiva. During the worship time, our women pray to the Lingam and their other gods for marital happiness, the well being of their husbands and children, and purification of their bodies and souls. Hinduism is a works-based religion, and Teej is one of the duties women must perform if they are to hope for a good afterlife. Here a priest blesses one of the women with a "tika" or dot on her forehead.
One of the most obvious highlights of the event is when the women arrive wearing their finest saris and gold. Red is an auspicious color in Hinduism, and Teej is the day for wearing red!
Our beloved Jasoda, whose husband was badly injured in a van accident (you may have prayed for them), has an adorable new daughter-in-law. Tiny Sabitra giggles almost all the time! Isn't she lovely?
Images the women worship are set up in a lavish display at the front of the room. The priest, left, talks to the women and reads from their Hindu holy books.
Priests also oversee the huge outpouring of sacrifices brought before the deities.
Here's a closeup of the primary god, Shiva, at this service.
Notice that incense, fruit, and money are gifts sacrificed before these images.
This brass image of Shiva has been dressed in miniature clothing and wears a lei of marigolds.
Women gather into groups to prepare their personal sacrifices. Here Jasoda is opening a box of cookies while her daughter-in-law prays.
At the main altar, you can see all kinds of gifts placed before the images.
Prayers are offered by women young and old.
Though the worship time was continuing, another activity quickly usurped everyone's attention. Taking photos! Of me! Again and again, I was asked to pose with women who are current or former students in the Refugee Sewing Society.
Here I am with Durga and Devi in red on my far left (currently in advanced sewing) and Ruk (in bead group) on my right.
Rhadika is a loyal member of Amy's bead class.
Leela was one of our first sewing students. She now works two jobs. I miss her so much and was really happy to see her at the festival.
And of course, pretty Sabitra!
I did some photographing, too. Here are Durga (current student) and Tulasa. She was in my sewing class until she had to go to work in a chicken factory.
This our sweet Chhali Maya, a faithful member of bead group.
The woman on the left is a new student in bead group. She speaks very good English and helps Amy communicate instructions.
After the worship came the dancing! This is an old traditional dance. Radhika (beads), Chhali Maya (beads) and Jasoda (sewing) display their talents.
Here the women dance in a circle. Jasoda loves to dance and sing.
Please pray for our women as we show them the Light of life. Now there's a real reason to dance!
Categories: Cathy's Musings