Tihar, Dates in Nepal, Kaag Tihar, Kukur Tihar, Gai Tihar, Laxmi Puja, Govardhan Puja, Bhai Tika

Tihar (Nepali: तिहार), is also known as Deepawali, Diwali, Dipawali, Yamapanchak, Swonti(Nepali) or Sunti(Newari). Tihar is five day long Hindu festival celebrated in Nepal. Tihar is the most celebrated festival after Dashain in Nepal.

Tihar, Dates in Nepal, Kaag Tihar, Kukur Tihar, Gai Tihar, Laxmi Puja, Govardhan Puja, Bhai Tika

Tihar (Nepali: तिहार), is also known as Deepawali, Diwali, Dipawali, Yamapanchak, Swonti(Nepali) or Sunti(Newari). Tihar is five day long Hindu festival celebrated in Nepal. Tihar is the most celebrated festival after Dashain in Nepal. It is the festival of lights, as diyas are lit inside and outside the houses to make it illuminate at night. It is popularly known as Swanti among the Newari culture and Deepawali in Terai region.

Tihar is the second biggest Nepalease festival after Dashain. It is considered to be great importance as it shows reverence to not just the humans and the gods, but also to the animals like crows, cows and dogs that maintain an intimate relationship with humans. People make patterns on the floor of living rooms or courtyards using materials such as colored rice, dry flour, colored sand or flower petals outside of their house, called Rangoli, which is meant to be a sacred welcoming area for the Gods and Goddesses of Hinduism mainly Goddess Laxmi.

When is Tihar 2017

Thursday, October 19, 2017 (Kartik 2, 2074 B. S.)

Story behind Tihar

There are various stories about the celebration of Tihar. One of the famous stories behind the celebration of tihar is related to Yama the god of death and his sister Yamuna. Yama had been staying away from his sister for a long time. His sister wanted to meet him so she asked various sources to visit him and ask him to give her a visit. She sent crow, dog and cow and the end she went herself to see her brother. She worshiped him with tika and flowers, she put him five colored tika. Yamuna made a circle with mustard oil, Dubo (Grass, Cynodon Dactylon) and put Makhmali Mala (Globe amaranth) and asked Yamraj not to go till the oil, Dubo Grass and the flower gets dry. Therefore, every sister worships her brother keeping him in the circle of mustard oil, putting mala (garland) of Makhmali flower and Dubo grass.

How is Tihar Celebrated

Kaag Tihar (Day 1) - October 17, 2017 (Ashoj 31, 2074 B. S.)

Kaag Tihar
The first day of the festival is called Kaag Tihar. Crows and ravens are worshiped by offering of sweets and dishes placed on the roofs of houses. 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.

Kukur Tihar (Day 2) - October 18, 2017 (Kartik 1, 2074 B. S.)

Kukur Tihar
The second day is called Kukur Tihar. It is called the Khicha Puja by the Newars. People offer garlands, tika and delicious food to dogs and acknowledge the cherished relationship between humans and dogs.
Dogs occupy a special place in Hindu mythology. As mentioned in the Mahabharata, Bhairava, a fierce manifestation of Lord Shiva, had a dog as a vahana(vehicle). Yama, the god of death, is believed to own two guard dogs, each with four eyes. The dogs are said to watch over the gates of Naraka, the Hindu concept of Hell. Owing to this belie, this day is also observed as Naraka Chaturdashi.

Gai Tihar and Laxmi Puja (Day 3) - October 19, 2017 (Kartik 2, 2074 B. S.)

Gai Tihar
The morning of the third day is Gai Tihar (worship of the cow), In Hinduism, 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. Houses are cleaned and doorways and windows are decorated with garlands made of Saya Patri (marigolds) and makhamali (Gomphrena globose) flowers.
Laxmi Puja
In the evening Laxmi, the goddess of wealth is thanked for all the benefits that were bestowed on the families by lighting oil lamps(Diyo) or candles on doorways and windows to welcome prosperity and wellbeing. At night the girls enjoy dancing and visiting all the houses in the neighborhood with musical instruments singing and dancing known as Bhailo all night long collecting money as a tip from houses and share the bounty amongst themselves.
From the third day onward Tihar is celebrated with Deusi and Bhailo with light and fireworks. Deusi is mostly sung by the boys while the Bhailo is sung by the girls. Deusi is balladic and tells the story of festival, with one person narrating and the rest as the chorus. In return, the home owners give them money, fruit and selroti (a Nepali roundel made of rice flour and sugar). Nowadays social workers, politician, and young people visit local homes sing these songs, and collect funds for welfare and social activities.

Govardhan Puja (Day 4) - October 20, 2017 (Kartik 3, 2074 B. S.)

Govardhan Puja
On the fourth day Tihar, there are different known pujas, depending on the people's cultural background. It is observed as Goru Tihar or Goru Puja. People who follow Vaishnavism perform Govardhan Puja, which is worship towards Govardhan Mountain. Cow dung is taken as representative of the mountain is worshiped. Additionally, the majority of the Newar community on the night perform Mha Puja (worship of self). This day is seen as the beginning of the New Nepal Sambat calendar year.

Bhai Tika Worship of Brother (Day 5) - October 21, 2017 (Kartik 4, 2074 B. S.)

Bhai Tika Worship of Brother
The fifth and last day of Tihar is called Bhai Tika or Kija Puja. It is observed by sisters applying tika to the foreheads of their brothers to ensure long life and thank them for the protection they provide It is believed that Yamraj, the God of Death, visited his sister, Goddess Yamuna, on this day during which she applied the auspicious tika on his forehead, garlanded him and fed him special dishes. Together, they ate sweets, talked and enjoyed themselves to their hearts content. Upon parting, Yamraj gave the Yamuna a special gift as a token of his affection and, in return. Yamuna gave him a lovely gift which she had made with her own hands. That day Yamraj announced that anyone who receives tilak from his sister will never die on that day.

Sisters make a special garland for their brothers from a flower that wilts only after a couple of months, symbolizing the sister's prayer for her brother's long life. Brothers sit on the floor while their sisters perform their puja. The puja follows a traditional ritual in which sisters circle brothers, dripping oil on the floor from a copper pitcher and applying oil to their brother's hair, following which a seven color tika's is applied on the brother' forehead. Next, brothers give tika's to their sisters in the same fashion with exchange of gifts. This ritual is practiced regardless of whether the brother is younger or older than the sister. Those without sister or brother join relatives or friends for tika. This festival strengthens the close relationship between brothers and sisters.

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Lumbini Media - Nepali News and Entertainment Portal, Daily Nepali News Updates From Lumbini, Nepal: Tihar, Dates in Nepal, Kaag Tihar, Kukur Tihar, Gai Tihar, Laxmi Puja, Govardhan Puja, Bhai Tika
Tihar, Dates in Nepal, Kaag Tihar, Kukur Tihar, Gai Tihar, Laxmi Puja, Govardhan Puja, Bhai Tika
Tihar (Nepali: तिहार), is also known as Deepawali, Diwali, Dipawali, Yamapanchak, Swonti(Nepali) or Sunti(Newari). Tihar is five day long Hindu festival celebrated in Nepal. Tihar is the most celebrated festival after Dashain in Nepal.
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