Festivals of Nepal - Tihar
Tihar – The Festival of Lights
Tihar is another major festival of lights which comes after around 2 weeks from Dashain and is celebrated for five days. It is also referred as Deepawali or Dewali. The festival either falls in October or November which is calculated from Nepalese dating system called Panchanga. Every house is lit with lights either electric or candles or traditional diyo (cotton dipped in oil). Fireworks, singing and dancing, playing cards are the different ways of celebrating Tihar.
Tihar also shows the affection with animals such as crow, dog, and cow. The cow is the sacred animal for Hindus as for we drink cow milk like we do from our mother.
1st Day: The first day is Crow Tihar. On this day, the crow is worshipped by providing food to crow either in rooftop or the bank of rivers.
2nd Day: The second day is Dog Tihar. On this particular day, Dog is worshipped by putting a garland of flowers in the neck and feeding it with some delicious food.
3rd Day: The third day is Gai Tihar - one of the most important days in Tihar. It is the day of worshiping cow and eventually in the evening, is the Maha Laxmi puja. Goddess Laxmi is the goddess of fortune and worshiping her wholeheartedly brings good luck to one’s life.
Another significance of this day is thousands of years ago, Goddess Sita and Lord Rama returned from their 14-year exile - on this day. Since that time onwards, to mark the celebration of the return of the Goddess Sita (incarnation of Maha Laxmi), Maha Laxmi puja is observed every year by Hindus all around the world. Also, Duesi and Bhailo (traditional song) are sung by boys and girls on different houses, from which in return, the homeowners offer them some money, traditional food selroti (made from sugar and rice flour) and fruits.
4th Day: The 4th day is quite interesting as people from different cultural background celebrate in different ways. People from the Vaishnava community worship the Govardhana Mountain & for those if the mountain is not accessible, make a replica of the mountain by cow dung. Some people worship Goru i.e. worship of oxen. Particularly in Nepal, the Newari community performs Mha puja (self-worship). This day also starts the beginning of New Year of Newari community – known as Nepal Sambat.
5th Day: The fifth day of Tihar is Bhai Tika - also very important to Nepalese people as it shows affection between siblings. Brother and sister put Saptarangi (7 colored) tika on the forehead of each other with a garland of flowers after worshipping the god of death – Yamaraj. It is believed that performing this ceremony – brothers are blessed with longer life, wellbeing, and prosperity. Sisters offer different kind of sweets, snacks, fruits whereas brothers in return gift something back either in cash or goods.
The day after Bhai Tika marks the completion the most awaited festival of the year – Tihar. To be part of this amazing festival of lights and to observe the typical Nepali custom, tradition and practice, please feel free to email or contact us.
Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal
Binod Thapa (USA)
Phone: +1 443 985 2950