Tihar- Celebration of Lights. It is regarded as the second popular festival in Nepal which is celebrated by almost everyone as it is also known as “Festival of Colors”. As it occurs just fifteen days after Dashain, September- October can be taken as the festive season in Nepal. Legend has it that, Dipawali, which literally translates to lighting the lamp, is celebrated to welcome Rama and Laxman, home ( Two Hindu demigods) as they return after defeating Ravana ( Evil king Of Lanka). Also, this festival is popular in the sense that it strengthens the bond between Sisters and brothers. Tihar is also known as Yama Panchak (Five days of Yamraj, the god of death) as there are five days of celebrations, namely:
- Kaag Tihar ( Crow Tihar)
- Kukur Tihar ( Dog Tihar)
- Laxmi Puja(Laxmi Tihar)
- Govardhan Puja
- Bhai Tika
All the celebration days of Tihar have its various myths, legends, and beliefs and every day starts with the offering.
Kaag Tihar (Crow Tihar):
This is the first day of Tihar during which crows are revered and given sweets and different food items. According to Hindu scriptures, crows are considered to be the messenger of Yama, the death god.
Kukur Tihar (Dog Tihar):
The second of the Tihar is celebrated by offering garlands, tika, and different sweets and food to dogs. Considered as the gatekeeper of god Yama, the Hindu devotee takes this day for the veneration of the dogs.
Gai (Cow) Puja/Laxmi Puja:
In Hindu myth, Laxmi is regarded as the goddess of wealth and prosperity. So, on the third day of Tihar, Laxmi Puja is celebrated and on the same day, people crack fireworks and Perform Deepawali (Lighting of Lamps) all over their houses and abodes. During the same day, Cow, which is taken as the incarnation of Laxmi is also worshipped and given sweet dishes.
After the puja, girls gather in groups wearing the cultural dress and traditional jewelry and play Bhailo the whole night, collecting money and giving blessings to the families.
Goru (OX)/Govardhan Puja:
It marks the fourth day of the Yama Panchak on which farmers venerate the oxen. Legend has it that this day is also celebrated to mark one of the superheroes of Hindu myth, Hanuman. Goru puja, worship of Oxen, Gobhardan puja, and Maha puja are done on this day for a healthy and prosperous year ahead. From this day, the boy’s group, familiar to Bhailo but called Deusi is played.
The fifth and the final day is known as “Bhai tika”. This is undoubtedly the auspicious occasion of Tihar when the sisters put tika on the forehead of the brothers and share the gifts. This day stands as one of the important events to strengthen the bond between sisters and brothers. Also, the sisters pray for her brother’s long life. Mostly boys wear Dhaka Topi (Nepali Hat) on this day. Also, most of the sister gifts Dhaka Topi to their brothers.
I can’t ignore to look at the house decoration: decorated with lights, Rangoli, Diyo and candle lights at night, and also the flowers. You can see people of different ages making their group and playing Deusi and Vailo. Besides you can also watch people playing gambling and playing cards, swings, Langerburja, etc. Tihar is definitely one of the merriest making the beautiful festivals as you can see lots of smiles on each face having sweets and delicious food with colorful lights.