Festival of Deepawali
Tihar is one of the most well known Hindu holiday/festivals throughout Nepal and in different parts of India. Tihar is also known as the Festival of Lights. Tihar is mainly divided into 5 days in October.
Day 1 is known as Kag Tihar which means “crow worship day.” Crows are worshiped and fed early in the morning. People leave different food items outside for crows to eat. Crow is considered to be the messenger of death because back on the days at World War I and II Nepal did not have the kind of technology to inform or get any information about Nepalese soldiers, so every morning if they heard the crow making a specific sound they believed that their loved one is no longer with them.
Day 2 is Kukur Tihar which means “festival of dogs.” People celebrate this because they believe that dogs are the the most loyal friend of mankind. Dog Puja is done by putting a red tika powder on their forehead and a flower garland around the neck and offering them their favorite foods. Male dogs are worshiped most because people believe that dogs can see danger and death coming. Usually whenever dogs cry, people believe that someone is going to leave them and go far away where they cannot return back with them.
Day 3 is Gai Tihar which means “cow worship day.” Cows are worshiped with light sesame oil, garlands of flowers and the color red all over their body. In Hindu culture, people who don’t have their own mother worship cows as their own mother because they believe that they get older by drinking their milk. Others worship Lakshmi, a god and the mother of wealth and prosperity. Later in the afternoon they clean their houses and decorate with flowers and lights. Then when they are done they make small footprints in front of their main entry in belief that Lakshmi has entered their house, then the family comes together, worships and asks for blessings. When the night comes, people start to light the candles and electrical lights and hang out with family and friends.
Day 4 is Goru Tihar which is also know as worshiping Oxen. On that day, people perform three different puja (worship). People also do govardhan puja which is done by making a hill of govardhan parbat which is literally cow dung. People in Nepal give much importance to cow dung because they use this for light at night and they paint their house floor with it. They believe that without this their festival is incomplete.
Day 5, which is the last day of the festival, is Bhai Tika, which means “celebration of brothers.” On this day, sisters put different kinds of colors on the foreheads of her brothers, to ensure his long life and health. Then, brothers do the same thing for their sisters and give them gifts and money. On this day, brothers who are far away from their sisters try to make it to their sister’s place and share happiness. Some brothers don’t have a sister, so they go to the temple or they also “adopt” their friend’s sister or go to their neighbor and ask for favor to become their sister. Later on at night people go out and have parties. – Lachu Adhikai