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The Festival of Lights

Tihar Festival NepalTihar, the Nepalese festival, is compared by many with the Deepawali festival of India. The purpose of celebration is to worship Goddess Laxmi. According to Hindu scriptures, Laxmi is the Goddess of Wealth. The devotees lit oil lamps and candles to illuminate their homes. Kathmandu dons the look of a sparkling diamond on Tihar. The festival is celebrated for five days beginning from the thirteenth day of the waning moon in the month of October.

Fast Facts
Month October
Also Known as Bhai Tika, Dipawali, Laxmi Puja
Period of Celebration 5 days
Unique Feature Animals are worshipped
Special Events People lit oil lamps in their houses

Tihar, the festival of lights, is one of the most important festivals in Nepal. It is celebrated for five days. Happenings of all these days have been given below :

Day 1
Crows, called Kaga in Nepal, are worshipped on the first day. Delicious meal is cooked early morning in every household and each member of the family takes some food outside. The crows descend in large numbers to partake the offerings. People consider the crows to be the messenger of Yama, the Lord of Death. People worship crows to keep sadness at bay. They consider the voice of crows as symbol of sorrow.

Day 2
Second day is dedicated to worshipping of dogs. Kukur (Dogs) are decorated with flower garland around their necks. Red tika is applied on their forehead. They also get to savour delicous meals. People request the dogs to guard their homes.

Day 3
Cows are worshipped on the third day of the Tihar. Cow is considered the mother of the universe according to Hindu traditions, and therefore a sacred animal. Tika is applied on her forehead, she is garlanded and offered nice things to eat. People place her manure in different parts of their houses. They drink a drop or two of the cow's urine, for they think that the action would purify them.

Laxmi Puja
Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth, is worshipped with great zeal and faith. Whole country is illuminated with lights. Candle lights and oil lamps are traditionally used for the purpose. The 'puja' is usually performed at dusk, preferably by female. She makes a symbolic footprint outside the home with red mud and then walks to the room where the goddess is worshipped.

Bhailini Songs
Bhalini songs are played only on this day in the entire year. These are special songs which groups of girls sing together. They sing Bhailo door and door, and get money or homemade treats in return.

Day 4
Men sing Deusi or Deusuray songs. They are given money or refreshments. Arrival of the new year is also celebrated in Tihar. Ritual of Govardhan puja or Goru Tihar (Oxen Worshipping) is also observed. The religious proceedings of the fourth day are also known as mahapuja.

Day 5
Fifth day, also known as Bhai Tika, is the day of brothers and sisters. Sister applies red tika on the forehead of brother. An intriguing ritual is also followed. Sisters walk around the brothers three times dropping oil on the floor from a pitcher. Sisters pray for brothers' long life and prosperity while brothers offer gifts. Then delicious Tihar feast takes place in the households.
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