Diwali Festival Tour in Nepal

Tihar is one of the most dazzling festivals of  Nepal. Tihar is also known as Deepawali Diwali and Yamapanchak. Tihar festival falls during the month of October-November. This festival is celebrated for five days, beginning from the 13th day of the waning moon in October-November.
In this festival, people worship Goddess Laxmi, known as the Goddess of wealth. All the houses of the city and villages are cleaned and decorated with lit oil lamps. During the night time, the cities and villages look like shining diamonds. Many people call Tihar as “Yama Panchak” which means the five days of the lord of the underworld. These five days are considered as very important which reflect respect not only for the human and god but also animals and birds like crows, dogs and cows who share a strong relationship with local people. During this festival many people decorate the exteriors of their houses by making Rangoli of different colors and flower petals of saipati or marigold spread on it, thus making the homes attractive and beautiful during the night time after oil lamps are lit on them.
There are many stories behind the celebration of Tihar. One of the stories is about the relationship between brothers and sisters. Yama, the god of death and Yamuna his sister, who has been far from her brother for many years. She wants to meet her brother so she uses different mediums, like a crow, a dog and a cow to visit her brother’s home and ask him to visit her. But even after doing all this, he doesn’t visit her and finally she goes to her brother’s home and worships him with flowers, tika and makes a circle with mustard oil, Dubo Grass (Cynodon Dactylon) and put Makhmali Mala (Globe Amaranth) (a type of pink flower) and she tells Yamaraj to not go anywhere till the oil, Dubo Grass and the flowers get dry. Due to this reason every sister worships her brother making a circle of mustard oil, putting mala (garland) of Makhmali flower and Dubo grass and prays for his long life and prosperity.
Days of Tihar
 
Day 1: Kag Tihar (Crow day)
The first day of Tihar is known as Kag Tihar. Early in the morning people cook different types of delicious foods and offer it to crows. People worship the crow and give them something to eat before they eat their own meals.
Day 2: Kukur Tihar: (Dog day)
The second day of Tihar is known as Kukur Tihar. In the Newar community this day is also called as Khicha Puja. Th dog is considered as the guardian of our homes and also the steed of fearful Bhairab, the god of destruction. On this day dogs are worshipped by applying tika and beautiful garland around their necks.
After doing the puja of the dog people give it delicious food to eat. On this day one can see all street dogs being worshipped and being given respect. This day is also observed as Narka Chaturdashi.
Day 3: Gai Tihar and Laxmi Puja
The third day of Tihar is known as Gai Tihar and Laxmi Puja. Early in the morning people worship the Gai (cow). People use the cow for a lot of things like milk, dung and urine for different purpose of purification. So, on this day people worship the Cow in a grand manner by putting tika on their foreheads, garlanding and feeding cows with grass and other delicious cooked food items.
In the day time people clean and decorate their houses by keeping garlands of Marigold and chrysanthemums at the door and windows. People make Rangoli outside the main doors of their houses and put lights in their house and light oil lamps on the Rangoli.
In the evening, the main door of the house is painted with red mud and an oil lamp is lit on it which is supposed to show the way to Goddess Laxmi to their house, to their Puja room. During the Puja the idol of Goddess Laxmi is kept on the Lotus flower, keeping the money which has been saved from many years and valuable things next to the idol. On this day from evening to night, groups of girls and boys go to houses, singing and dancing, what is known as Deusi , Bhailo. By playing the Deusi  Bhailo people collect money and food from different houses and share all the sweets and money among themselves.
Day 4: Mha Puja
The fourth day of Tihar is called as Gobardhan Puja and Mha Puja. This differs as per specific cultural background. On this day takes place the worship called Goru puja (worship of ox). People offer tika, garland and feed the ox with food and complete the puja.
In the Newar community they perform Mha Puja which means worshipping one’s own body. The Newar people worship themselves and offer prayers for long life and good health.
Day 5: Bhai Tika
The last day of the Tihar is known as Bhai Tika. On this day, the sisters put tika on their brother by performing some rituals. It is celebrated throughout the nation. The main idea to celebrate Bhai Tika is that the sister prays for her brother’s long life and good health. After putting the tika of seven colors and garlanding the brothers, the sisters give gift to their brothers which is known as Sagun which is made of dried fruits, nuts and candies etc. Similarly, the brothers also put tika on their sisters and give them gifts. This celebration shows the close and deep relationship between brothers and sisters.
In this manner, after five days the Tihar festival ends. People cherish these moments, preserve their culture and enjoy the warmth of this festival.
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