Glorious Himalaya

Tihar/Deepawali Festival

Tihar is a five-day-long Hindu festival celebrated in Nepal. It is also called Yamapanchaka or Deepawali, the festival of light. Tihar falls on Trayodashi of Kartik to Kartik shukla dwitiya(late autumn) every year soon after Dashain. The significance of observing Tihar is- showing respect not only to human beings and gods but also to animals that help us in many ways to sustain our lives.

The first day is called Kag Tihar or worshipping the crow. The crow is believed to be the messenger of Yamaraja, the god of death. The crow is given delicious food stuffs early in the morning. People believe that the crow brings good luck and fortune in the family. The second day of Tihar is Kukur Puja or worshipping the dog. Dogs are fed with tasty food. People offer garland and tika on the occasion. The third day is celebrated as Gai Tihar or worship of the cow also called Laxmi Puja or worship of the goddess of wealth. Hindu people worship the cow as the symbol of prosperity and wealth. Thus, they feed the cow with best grass. Houses are cleaned. Windows and doors are well decorated with garlands. In the evening, Laxmi is worshipped by lighting oil lamps and candles on doorways and windows to welcome prosperity and well being. Girls come out to enjoy playing, singing and dancing- Bhailo in return the owner of the house, offer them money, fruits and selroti/ funnel breads. The fourth of Tihar is called Gobardhan Puja/ Goru Puja or Mha Puja. On the day, Gobardhan mountain is worshipped, Cow dung is taken as representative of mountain of Gobardhan. The ox is worshipped because it tilts the field and helps farmers grow their crops. Newari people perform Mha Puja (worship of self) on the night of this day. This also the beginning of Nepal Sambat (Newari New Year). The Newar community welcomes New Year with prosperity and well-being. The fifth and last day of Tihar is Bhai Tika. On the day, sisters put tika or tika of seven colors to ensure long life and pray to Yamaraja for her brother?s safety and prosperity. Sisters offer brothers sagun of dry fruits- walnut, hazelnut (katus) and sweets and in return the brothers give their sisters gifts and money. Brothers also put tika and assure her to protect her till the end of life. On one hand, Tihar brings close relationship between brothers and sister on the other hand, it reminds us to love and respect our cultures.

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