“The bright lightning, fireworks, celebration, and happiness! Tihar is a festival of lights that spreads peace, prosperity, happiness, and good health to the life of people.”
Tihar is a famous festival among Hindu people that comes after the auspicious festival of Dashain. Even this festival is celebrated with much joy and belief. It falls on the month of Kartik as per the Nepalese calendar that corresponds to the October/ November of a solar calendar. Tihar festival lasts for five days, and each day is glorified with its auspicious value and unique rituals. More importantly, the festival is celebrated in tribute to Goddess Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity. Besides Goddess, many animals like crow, dog, and cow are worship during this festival.
During Tihar, people clean their houses, decorate their homes, and lighten their houses to make it look attractive. It is believed that whoever decorates the house best or whoever lights their house diligently, Goddess Laxmi will be happy with them and enter into those houses. Therefore, people can be seen busy decorating their homes, lighting Diya (clay made festive lanterns) & lighting the candles during these days.
The five essential days of Tihar Festival are –
1. Kaag Tihar – the day of the crow, where crows are worshipped
2. Kukur Tihar– the day of dogs, where dogs are worshipped
3. Laxmi Puja – the day of Goddess Laxmi / cow (considered a form of Goddess Laxmi) where
Goddess Laxmi is prayed and worshipped
4. Govardhan Puja – the day where oxen are worshipped
5. Bhai tika – the day where rituals are performed to put tika to a brother for their long life and
An exciting myth behind the celebration of Tihar
There are many myths behind the festival of Tihar; however, the story of Yama and Yamuna is one of the interesting ones. Yama had been staying away from his sister and family for long. The Yamuna, as a loving sister, wanted to meet his brother and know about his health and condition. Therefore, she sent a message through crow to her brother. Then she went herself to meet her brother. Once she visited him, she came to know that he was very ill. Yamaraj, the lord of death, had come to take Yama. Meanwhile, Yamuna encircled Yama by drawing a circle of oil with Dubo (grass) around him. Then she applied colorful tika over his forehead and garlanded him with the Garland of Makhmali flower. Then she challenged Yamaraj to take his brother only where the circle of oil dried, and the garland of Makhmali gets dry. Yamaraj agreed to her challenge but realized that oil never dries, and the flower of Makhamali never dries off. Hence, he blessed Yama with his life. Since then, all the sisters perform the same ritual for their brother for their long life and health.
It marks the first day of Tihar. Crows are known as the messenger of death. Hence, on this day, crows are fed with delicious food and worshipped so that they would only bring good news.
On the second day of Tihar, dogs are worshipped. Dogs are considered to be a loyal friend of humankind. It is believed that dogs are those animals who can sense the danger of death coming. Hence, on this day, dogs are worshipped. People put tikas on their forehead and offer garland along with delicious food.
Gai Puja/ Laxmi Puja
This day, Goddess Laxmi is worshipped. She is believed to be the Goddess of wealth and prosperity. Even cows are worshipped on this day. They are believed to be a form of Goddess Laxmi. On this day, people clean their houses and apply red mud to make way with footprints to show Goddess the path to their home. The homes are beautifully decorated with flowers, garlands, lights, candles, and Diyos. People cook delicious foods/ sweets and offer them to Goddess Laxmi. Doing all these things is believed to bring prosperity amongst people in their life.
On this day, oxen are worshipped. They are offered tika, garland, and delicious food. Even Govardhan Parvat (mountain of ox dung) is made and revered as a form of god.
This day strengthens the bond between every brother and sister. On this day, sisters worship lord Yama and perform various rituals for the long life and good health of their brother. Sisters put colorful tika – Saptarangi tika (seven colors tika) to their brothers, offer garland, and varieties of food as Sagun (good luck). The food provided consists of dry fruits, chocolates, fruits, sweets, Sel roti, etc.
These are the five essential days of Tihar that is celebrated with much joy by people. Apart from these rituals, people enjoy their holidays eating delicious foods, playing cards, decorating houses, and enjoying fireworks. So, are you willing to celebrate this vibrant festival in Nepal, amongst the Nepalese people? If yes, then Nepal Intrepid Treks welcomes you to be a part of this Festival in Nepal. Happy festive season to all! And Happy Deepawali 2076 to all of you from Nepal Intrepid Treks and the entire family. May Goddess Laxmi bless you with peace, prosperity, and happiness, the real essence of life.