Tihar or Deepawali means the festival of lights in terai region of Nepal is a five days long hindu festival celebrated in Nepal every year.
The festival is celebrated from Trayodashi of Kartik Krishna to Katrik Shukla Dwitiya. Many candles are lit to make it bright at night. The five-day festival is considered to be of great importance as it shows reverence to not just the humans and the Gods, but also to the animals who maintain an intense relationship with the humans.
Kag Tihar : First day of the festival is called Kag (a crows) Tihar or Puja. The crows are worshipped by offerings of sweets and dishes on the roof of the houses. The cawing of the crows symbolises sadness and grief in the Hindu mythology, so the devotees offer the crows food to avert grief and deaths in their homes.
Kukur Tihar : Second day is called Khicha or Kukur (a dogs) Tihar or Puja. Dog, which is believed to be messenger of Lord Yamaraj, the god of death, is worshiped on this day. People offer garlands, tika and food to the dogs, and acknowledge the cherished relationship between humans and the dogs.
Gai Tihar and Laxmi Puja : On the morning of third day is Gai (a cow) Tihar or Puja is observed. On this day people showed their gratefulness to the cow by garlanding and feeding the cow with the best grass. Houses are cleaned and the doorways and windows are decorated with garlands. In the evening Goddess Laxmi is thanked for all the benefits that were bestowed on the families by lighting oil lamps or candles on doorways and windows to welcome prosperity. At night the girls dance and visit all the houses of the village with many musical instruments playing game called Bhailo all night long. Deusi and Bhailo are the songs which have only been sung on those Tihar days.
Gobardhan and Mha Puja : Fourth day of Tihar, there are three different known pujas, depending on the people’s specific cultural background. Most perform Goru (a oxen) Tihar Puja. People who follow Krishna perform Gobardhan Puja. Cowdung is seen as very useful in Nepal, as in the olden days it was used for everything from light at night (Methane) to polish for the mud floors of traditional houses. The Newar community on the night of this day do Mha Puja (worship of self) because this period is also the beginning of Nepal Sambat (new year) ensuring prosperity for the new year.
Bhai Tika : Fifth and last day of Tihar is Bhai Tika, a day where sisters put tika on foreheads of brothers, to ensure long life, and thank them for the protection they give. When the sisters give the tika, the brothers give gifts or money in return. A special garland is made for the brothers out of a flower symbolizing the sister’s prayer for her brother’s long life.
Tihar 2017 Dates :
In 2017, Thar will be celebrated from 17 October to 21 October 2017.