Tihar, The festival of lights

Tihar, The festival of light is one of the most dazzling among other Hindu festivals. Tihar, also known as Deepawali and Yamapanchak or Swanti is a one of the most popular festival after the Dashain. The festival is also marked by the bursting of firecrackers, the giving of sweets as gifts and the placing of tikas on foreheads. It is the festival of lights, as people puts various lights inside and outside of the houses to make it light up at night.

Most interesting part of this festival is that  it shows equal respect and importance to the animals like crows, cows, and dogs. It starts with the honoring of animals such as crows, dogs, cows and bullocks.

Kaag Tihar (Day 1)

The first day of the festival is called Kaag Tihar. People offers various dishes or sweets to crows. Crows symbolizes the sadness in the hindu culture so during this festival, people offer various dishes to crows to prevent any wrong incident in their home.

Kukur Tihar ( Day 2)

Second day of this festival is kukur tihar. Like in kaag tihar, offer garlands, tika and delicious food to dogs. According to wikipedia, 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 belief, this day is also observed as Naraka Chaturdashi.

Gai Tihar and Laxmi Puja (Day 3)

On the third day, people worship cow in the morning and in the evening, everyone prays to god laxmi who is also known as a goddess of wealth. On the third day, the Goddess of Wealth visits every home that has been suitably lit for her presence. After third day, people starts playing deusi-bhailo by visiting  other’s home.

Govardhan Puja (Day 4)

Fourth day is a govardhan puja. People from different communities celebrate this day in their own way. It is observed as Goru Tihar where people worship  oxen.Meanwhile, in Newar community, they celebrate this day as a Mha Puja and this day is also seen as the beginning of the new Nepal Sambat calendar year.

Bhai Tika (Day 5)

Big day of this festival and most important one also as in this day sisters puts tika to the foreheads of their brothers by wishing them a good luck and  long life.

Inputs from wikipedia.