Deepwali: Festival of lights, Happy Tihar

Yet another year of the festive season, chilled morning has probably started. In a few days another festival is to be celebrated. Followed by the biggest festival Vijaya Dashami, another beautiful festival is celebrated in Nepal, that is Tihar  or Deepwali or Swasti among newar community. This festival has its own significance. In 5 days, each day has its own significance, however, laxmi puja has the major importance.

The first day of Tihar, Kaag tihar (crow tihar), the first day of Tihar. Crow is considered as a messenger of the devil Ravan. The cawing of crows and ravens symbolizes sadness and grief in Hinduism, so devotees offer crows and ravens food to avert grief and death in their homes. Tihar among Gorkhas represents the divine attachment between humans and other animals

Kaag Tihar is followed by kukur tihar (Dog Tihar), second day of Tihar. People offer garlands, tika and delicious food to dogs and acknowledge the cherished relationship between humans and dogs. This day is also observed as Narka Chaturdashi. Naraka Chaturdashi (also known as Naraka Nivaran Chaturdashi) is a Hindu festival, which is the second day of the five-day-long festival of  Deepawali. The Hindu literature narrates that the asura (demon) Narkasura was killed on this day by Lord Krishna, Satyabhama and Kali. The day is celebrated by early morning religious rituals and festivities followed on.

The third day of Tihar is Gai tihar. In the morning of third day is Gai Tihar (worship of the cow). In Hindu religion, cow signifies prosperity and wealth. In ancient times people benefited a lot from the cow. Its milk, dung, even urine was used for purposes like purification. Thus, on this day people show their gratefulness to the cow by garlanding and feeding them with the best grass. Later in the evening is Laxmi puja,  when Goddess Laxmi, goddess of wealth and prosperous life is thanks and  welcomed  into their house. This day is considered to be amavash, the dark lunar phase. Hence, to welcome Goddess Laxmi, all the devotees use candles, and lights to brighten up their home.

The day is followed by the fourth day of tihar goberdan puja or Mah puja in Newar community, celebrated in honor of our own body, that has allowed us to do much everyday. Although, popular amongst Newars, a new year ” Newar Sambat” it is also believed that some Newars do not celebrate Mah Puja. Since, historians has believed that on this very day, during Shah kingdom, many privately owned property was made government property. On this day, people also worship of the oxen and the day is called Goberdan puja. People who follow Vaishavisam, perform Govardhan Puja, which is worship towards goverdhan mountain. Cow dung is taken as representative of the mountain and is worshiped.

The final day is Bhai tika, when sister fast all day for their brother’s long life. worship their brothers, or their protectors from any kind of harm. Sisters worship their brothers  with the seven-coloured tika, sisters provide brothers with sweets, Makhamali (gomphrena globes)  garland, and a sacred cotton thread of Tantric importance, meant to protect their bodies.

The five days are celebrated with the cultural and religious importance. People welcome the second half of the year i.e. winter season and the wedding seasons.



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Pratibha Written by:

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