Tihar; Festival of Appreciation and Gratitude

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Tihar, a five days festival, also known as Deepawali or Diwali – but especially in Nepal – Tihar is considered as a high spirit festival among, both, Hindus and non-Hindus.

There are several myths, varies on communities to communities, about this festival. Some believe that propose of this festival is to make Yama, god of death, happy. Elsewhere some myth attributes the origin of this festival to the eternal love between sisters and brothers. In Nepal Tihar is also known as Bhai-Tika, Bhai means brother and Tika mean kumkum. On the fifth day of this festival, sisters decorate their brothers with colourful kumkum, flowers, and worship them in a belief that even the god of death, Yama, may not seize the soul of brothers against the will of sisters. Whatsoever the myth recommends, this festival is all about colors, lights, and entertainment.

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Tihar is one such festival where animals are worshipped, as a gratitude, for always being there, around us, and helped us on our every little step towards our success. The first day of the festival is known as Kaag Tihar, in translation Crow Festival. Hindus believe crows are the messenger of the lord of death, Yama. On this day, people keep delicious food on top of the roof attracting crows, so that they will only bring good news.

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The second day is called as Kukur Tihar, Dog Festival. Perhaps only dogs of Nepal got an opportunity to live one famous saying, “Every dog has its day”. On this day, dogs are worshipped for their loyalty, for their friendship, and for their protection. Dogs, according to the Vedic mythology, guard the gate of the underworld empire. So, it is better to worship them rather than carrying a grudge till the next life.

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The third and fourth day is combined to worship bulls and cows. Nepal is an agricultural country, and bulls work as hard as our farmers in the field. On the third day, bulls are worshipped for their generosity, for their labour, and for an opportunity to work with such noble creature. On the fourth day, a cow is worshipped with all due respect for her milk. The cow is considered as the mother of all since we all have drunk her breast milk, likewise our mothers. Cows are, also, believed to be the reincarnation of goddess Laxmi, goddess of wealth and prosperity.

Tihar is a festival when we give respect and value to things and beings around us, whom we had forgotten in a year. By nature, human forgets quickly, so such festival is a reminder for us to take a break from our busy lives and pay our gratitude to another living beings around us.

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