Tihar Festival, Nepal Festival of Lights and Flowers
Table of Contents
- About Tihar festival
- Tihar festival date
- Kaag Tihar
- Kukur Tihar
- Laxmi puja
- Govardhan puja
- bhai tika
- Importance of Tihar
Nepal is a multi-lingual and multi-cultural country. So, people do observe multi-dozen feasts and festivals. All of the festivals having a particular occasion sort of an ending of gods over the demons, birth of somebody so on. Out of them, Deepawali is the prime national festival. It usually falls at the end of October. Tihar festival is one of the popular in Nepal.
Nepal is a multi-lingual and multi-cultural country. Ranging from Jatra to the most significant festival Dashain, each of the festivals depicts peculiar characteristics. People celebrate many festivals that differ regionally or according to ethnicity, religion, and traditions. Tihar, also called Diwali or Deepawali, ranks second only to Dashain in Nepal. As they are many candles and festive lanterns that will be lit up for the Goddess of Laxmi. Therefore, Tihar is also well-known as the festival of lights.
Tihar comes after the Dashain, and in the night period, Kathmandu can be seen as the city of lights.
Tihar festival often falls between mid-October and mid-November. In this festival, crows, dogs, cows, and Laxmi(the goddess of wealth and luck) are honor.
Tihar is celebrating after the Dashain festival
After Dashain, Tihar is the second biggest festival celebrating in Nepal. This festival is mainly dedicated for five days.
Tihar Festival is the second biggest festival that is celebrated for five days all over Nepal. And each Tihar holiday has its speech and portray peculiar functionalities and importance. The first day of Tihar is to worship crows, which are considering as “the messenger of death.”
The second day of Tihar is to honor dogs who are considered as “the guardian for the god of death.” The third day is to welcoming day of the deity of Laxmi. However, on the fourth day, we are worshiping the cow, a National animal of Nepal.
The final day of the Tihar festival is called Bhaitika or Tihar tika, which is the day of exchanging happiness, gifts among brothers and sisters. All the family members, away from home, gather together, and celebrate joyously. They celebrate their joy with each other and eat delicious food.
|KaagTihar||Worshipping Crows and offering foods|
|KukurTihar||Worshipping Dogs and offering meals|
|Laxmi Puja||Worshipping Cows and Goddess Laxmi, Playing Bhaile|
|Goru Tihar||Worshiping for Ox and Gobhardhan puja|
|BhaiTika||Worshiping Brothers/sisters, Exchanging gifts|
Here are the first essential things Nepalese people do in Tihar:
- Give Your Home a Makeover with Best Color
- Make it a Family Affair
- Light Firecrackers
- Send best wishes to all your friends and relatives through messages, media
- Socialize with people
Traditions of Tihar Festival
After Dashain, Tihar is the second biggest festival celebrating in Nepal. This festival is also mainly dedicating to five days. Tihar Festival is the second biggest festival that is celebrated for five days all over Nepal. And each Tihar holiday has its speech and portray peculiar functionalities and importance. The first day of Tihar is to worship crows, which are considered as “the messenger of death.”
The second day of Tihar is to honor dogs who are considered as “the guardian for the god of death.” The third day is to welcoming day of the deity of Laxmi. However, on the fourth day, we worship the cows a National animal of Nepal. The final day of the Tihar festival is called Bhai Tika or Tihar tika, which is the day of exchanging happiness, gifts among brothers and sisters. All the family members, away from home gat, her together and celebrate joyously. They celebrate their joy with each other and eat delicious food.
Day 1: KaagTihar/Crow Day
Activities: worshiping crows
Date: 23 October, Sunday
Kaag Tihar is marked as the first day of the Tihar. On this day, people offer rice to the crows, “the traveler of death.” This day is called the resting day for the crows as they are busy all year spherical. People worship crows to make sure that the crow’s area unit was happy. Otherwise, they’ll inform the bad news, and nasty things would happen within the coming back year.
People worship crows and ravens and offer them sweets and dishes by placing them on the roofs of houses. In Hinduism, the crawling of ravens and crows symbolizes sadness and grief. Thus, devotees offer crows sweet food to sort out pain and depression in the coming days. This day is also considered as the days representing divine attachment between humans and other animals.
Day 2: Kukur Tihar/Dog Day
Activities: Thanking dogs
Date: 24th October, Monday
Kukur Tihar is the second day of Tihar; it is the day of thanking and worshiping gods. Kicha puja is the name given by the Newar community to this day. On these days, Nepalis can honor dogs, for they believe that the dog will guarantee the souls of the dead to induce to heaven. Individuals offer dogs with Tihar Tika and flower garlands, and so treat them with a sweet dinner. Dogs are regarded as “the gatekeeper of death,” and saw as the messengers of Lord Yamaraj. This day is also observed as Narka Chaturdashi.
Activity: Worshiping Goddess Laxmi
Date: Oct 25, 2022, Tuesday.
The third day is the day with immense significance and is calling Laxmi Puja. On this day, people also worship cows. In Hinduism, a cow signifies prosperity and wealth. In ancient times, people benefited a lot from cows.
Thus, on this day, people show their gratefulness to cows by garlanding and feeding their cows with the best grass. It regards that Goddess Laxmi enters the clean, decorating house with this belief. As a result, People clean their house, and the doorways, windows are well furnishing with garlands which are made off of marigolds (Sayapatri). Most of the homes are clean and decorate ornately. This can be meant to be a gesture to the Hindu “Goddess Laxmi” to come back down and bless the house with wealth and sensible luck.
In the evening, Every home praying the Goddess Laxmi, the goddess of wealth. She thanks for all the benefits that bestow on the families. Every house and shop is lighting on the gate by oil lamps (Diyo) or candles on doorways and windows to welcome prosperity and well-being. Besides this, girls play Bhaili by singing the folk bhaili songs, dancing, and visiting all the houses of the neighborhood. People will give them money, other sweets as a tip and share among themselves. Other than that, the night of this day is worth watching, as we can observe the lights all over the country that will give you fascinating views.
Day 4: Govardhan Puja/Guru puja
Activity: worshiping Oxen
Date: October 26, 2023, Wednesday
The fourth day of the Tihar festival is calling as Govardhan puja/Goru puja/Omaha puja and celebrating according to the people’s specific background. As ox is an imperative helper for the farmer, individuals can perform Goru Puja for ox. This day also calls as Omaha Puja, celebrating Newari New Year. Newari community celebrates Maha puja/Ma puja(worship of self) gathering at nights. Then all the members can have a special family feast and revel in some lucky food, like poached eggs, deep-fried fish, tasty desserts, etc. People following the Vaishnavism perform Govardhan Puja, which is worship towards Goverdhan Mountain.
Cowdungrepresents the mountain and is worship. The nights are decorating with different colors of lights. During the night period, the Boys mostly sang Deusi songs, and tells the story of the festival, with one person in the group narrating and the rest as the chorus. They get some money, fruits, and Selroti from the house owners.
However, in these current days, many social workers, politicians, along with a group of young people, visit local homes and sing these songs. The fund they receive by playing deusi is collecting for welfare and social activities.
Activities: Worshiping Brothers and Sisters
Date: October 27, 2023, Thursday
The final day of the Tihar festival and calling BhaiTika. This is the day of brothers and sisters. Brothers and sisters gather after so much time on the auspicious occasion of BhaiTika. “Yampanchak” is another name that gives to Tihar. On these days, brothers and sisters can gather along and settle for Tihar quotes on their foreheads. Sisters would put the multi-colored tika on their brother’s forehead along with splendid garlands and supply them some Shaguns (a quite candy) as a Tihar gift.
And so the brothers would follow constant ritual to place Tika on their sisters and provides them some cash reciprocally. This festival is celebrating to make the brothers/sisters’ relationship more strong. And among those festivals, Tihar( Deepawali) is one of the celebrations. The sisters put Saptarangi (7 coloreds) tika or tilaka on the foreheads of their brothers, and the brothers also put the same 7-colored tika on their sister’s forehead. Sisters worship their brothers wishing for prosperous lives in the future.
During the Tihar festival, relatives and friends meet each other and exchange Tihar gifts and greetings with each other. Generally speaking, Nepalis will celebrate eleven great festivals from mid-October to mid-November. Each house, store, shopping complex, will lit a variety of colorful lights. Tihar festival is also famous as Deepawali and considered as the “festivals of lights.” All the city houses.
Importance of Tihar Festival in Nepal:
The festival of light, Tihar, is celebrating as it marks the victory of good over bad. Although This festival makes the relationship between animals and humans strong by observing crows. Cows, dogs, and ox. People indulge in feasting and also rejoicing. They clean their houses, put on new clothes, and also taste various types of delicious foods. There is a public holiday in this festival for all the schools, colleges, and offices.
At night, every family and stores can lit forms of colorful lights, and also the sky is stuffing with spectacular fireworks. Throughout this festival, friends and relatives can get reunion and exchange Tihar gifts and greetings with one another.
Nepalese placed on their new garments and create the determination to begin a brand new life.
Celebrating these types of festival increase brotherhood among the people and makes relief from the daily chaos. Cooking a delicious meal, flying kites, decorating homes, and streets. Playing cards are a significant activity also during the festive period. It also protects our culture and traditional songs.
Although the Tihar Festival celebrates for a short span, this is the most enjoyable festival. Many people dance, sing, play cards, and engage in various delightful activities.
Dhanteras, also known as Dhan Trayodashi and Dhanwantari Jayanti, is honored on this day together with Kaag Tihar. On this day, Hindus honor Dhanvantari, the goddess of healing and wealth. On this day, it is customary for individuals to purchase jewelry, kitchenware, and household appliances. On this day, purchasing gold, silver, or copper is seen as lucky.
Are Diwali and Tihar the same?
Locals in Nepal refer to Diwali, also known as “Deepawali,” most frequently as “Tihar.” There are other names, such as “Yamapanchak” or “Swanti.” The five days of the God of Death, Lord Yama, are known as “Yamapanchak.” It is a five-day Hindu festival that is observed in Nepal and in a few Indian states, including West Bengal and Sikkim. Tihar is especially celebrated in Darjeeling and Kalimpong, which are home to a sizable population of ethnic Nepalis.
Tihar is comparable to Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated in India, but there are several key differences. Tihar is celebrated by lighting diyo both inside and outside the house, similar to Diwali. The five days of Tihar, in contrast to the Indian festival, feature celebration and devotion among the four creatures connected to the Hindu deity of death, Yama, with the last day being designated for people.
The celebration is said to start with Kaag (crow) Tihar on Trayodashi tithi of Krtika krishna paksa (the 13th day of the waning moon) and finish with Bhai Tika on Dwitiya tithi of Kartika sukla paksa every year, according to the Vikram Samvat calendar. The celebration always takes place some time between October and November, according to the international calendar.
Both Diwali and Tihar, which have similar cultural origins, use clay lanterns, fireworks, lights, colorful rangoli, and sweets to commemorate the victory of good over evil. The dates are the same: the night of the new moon in the eighth Hindu month. On the main day of the celebration, both nations also honor Goddess Lakshmi (the wealth goddess). The 5-day festivities, however, vary greatly from one another.
The primary distinction between the two festivals is that Diwali places a greater emphasis on the gods, whereas Tihar emphasizes giving thanks to animals and honoring the support they give to people. Hindus in Nepal celebrate Tihar, but Hindus in India, Jains, and Sikhs celebrate Diwali.
The following highlights some of the differences between Diwali and Tihar from day 1 to day 5.
Day 1: In Nepal, the first day is Kaag Tihar, during which time crows are regarded as Lord Yama’s messengers. On this day, they are fed and worshipped. Similar to this, the first day of Dhanteras is celebrated in India. People tidy up their homes in preparation for the occasion. Additionally, they shop for lucky things like copper, gold, silver, utensils, and worship supplies.
Day 2: In Nepal, it is Kukur Tihar on the second day. Dogs are admired for their friendliness and loyalty. People worship their dogs with marigold garlands and mark their pets’ foreheads with red markings (tika). Even the dogs receive great meals from them. Choti Diwali, on the other hand, is observed on this day in India. People begin to decorate their homes with rangoli floor patterns and string lights.
Day 3: Nepalis celebrate Gai Tihar on this day. Similar to how dogs were worshipped the day before, cows are worshipped throughout the day. The Lakshmi ritual is carried out in the evening. Even their home is decorated with lights and marigold garlands on the door. Similar to this, Diwali is celebrated in India on the third day. Families gather together to enjoy meals and give gifts. The clay lanterns are lit around the home during a religious worship of Lakshmi.
Day 4: Goru Tihar is celebrated on the fourth day. The religion practiced on this day varies by ethnic group. While some worship mountains or themselves, the majority worship the ox. In contrast, Padwa is in India. People even open new business accounts on this auspicious day in belief of getting fortune and abundant.
Day 5: The final auspicious day of Tihar is Bhai Tika. Sibling relationships are honored through specific ceremonies. Sisters frequently perform acts of worship for their brothers by applying a 7-color tika (saptarangi tika) to their foreheads. They provide plenty of sweets, delicious prepared meals, and fruits to their children in addition to tika. Bhai Duj is celebrated in India on this day. Similar to Bai Tika, it is a celebration of rituals between siblings. Sisters and brothers undergo rituals of protection and exchange presents and treats to honor their special relationship.
Tihar and Diwali are different and special in this sense. While the celebrations of the two counties are different, the majority of the customs and practices are the same. Tihar and Diwali both have the same objectives in mind when they are celebrated, which are good fortune and family prosperity.
The reason behind the celebration of Tihar in Nepal
Different groups in Nepal observe Tihar in different ways. The celebration is referred to as Swanti by Newars and Deepawali by Madhesis. The second-largest festival in Nepal is known as Tihar. It’s also referred to as Dipawali or Diwali. With candles, bright rangoli on the ground, and sparkling lighting, you can see the celebrations taking place everywhere as the sun sets. This time had a completely different, lively, and beautiful energy. Anyone may take in the ambience, enjoy the culture, and participate in these lovely festivities. But what makes us celebrate Tihar? Is there a particular reason for the celebration of Tihar?
There are several stories related to Tihar’s history. The tale of Lord Yama, the God of Death, and his sister Yamuna is the best known of all of them. The person who arbitrates the souls of individuals after their deaths is thought to be Lord Yama, the Hindu deity of death. He makes the decision as to whether to send their souls to heaven or hell. Once, he was about to see Yamuna, his sister. However, he was so preoccupied with his work that he was unable to see her. Yamuna, on the other hand, couldn’t wait to see her brother.
She then invited him to come meet her by sending him messages. According to folklore, she initially sent a bird (a crow), then a dog, and finally a cow. However, even then, Lord Yama did not visit her. She had finally made up her mind to meet him alone. The fifth day of Tihar, or Bhai “Tika,” is observed on this day. It is stated that the Yamuna adored her brother on this day and showered good fortune upon him. So, in keeping with Yamuna’s example, the ritual of sisters honoring their brothers and wishing them well was created and is being followed.
Another tale about Lord Krishna explains the beginnings of the Govardhan puja, which is celebrated on the fourth day of Tihar. It tells the tale of how Lord Indra, the Rain God, cursed Gokul Village, putting it in danger of flooding and excessive rain. Krishna raised the huge Govardhan Mountain on his tiny finger to provide shelter for his village’s residents and animals. People in Gokul presented Govardhan Mountain with a variety of food items as thanks for saving their lives, and they adored him for saving them.
Tihar’s Main Attraction
After Dashain, Tihar is the second-largest celebration in Nepal, and it often receives a three-day national holiday from the government. The festival is unique in that it honors not only the gods but also creatures like crows, cows, and dogs that have coexisted with humans for a long time.
As a holy welcome for the gods and goddesses, especially Lakshmi, Nepalis often create designs on the flooring of living rooms or gardens using materials like colored rice, dried flour, colorful sand, or flower petals, known as Rangoli.
In addition, it influences the energy and vibrations of the surroundings. It is possible to see many of Tihar’s attractions at any particular time. Tihar’s main attractions include:
Things to explore during the Grand Tihar festival in Nepal
For tourists who wish to have wonderful and genuine interactions with people, Tihar is a fantastic time to visit Nepal. Due to their generosity, Nepalis frequently welcome visitors into their homes for meals and special festival celebrations.
There are other methods to celebrate Tihar in Nepal, aside from joining a Nepali family. Here are a few of the best:
Rani Pokhari Temple
On Bhai Tika, the fifth day of Tihar, this temple is accessible to the general public. The temple of Matrikeshwar Mahadev, one of Lord Shiva’s incarnations, is located in the heart of Kathmandu, in the center of a man-made pond of 400 square meters. The white bridge that goes to the temple grounds is a pleasure to cross. Your heart will be stolen by the stunning sight of the white elephant sculptures on the temple walls.
If you are already here, make plans for the fifth day of Tihar well in advance to see the beautiful sunrise gliding over this serene landscape of white splendor. Visit the Rani Pokhari Temple, which is only accessible to the general public once a year during Bhai Tika. There, you may stroll around the peaceful pond’s perimeter and observe the nearby town.
With bright rangoli on the ground and sparkling lighting from candles, you can see the celebrations taking place everywhere as the sun sets. This time had a completely different, lively, and beautiful energy. Anyone may take in the ambience, enjoy the culture, and participate in these lovely festivities. I hope this gives you a sense of what Tihar is like in Kathmandu.
Explore Kathmandu, which is overflowing with gorgeous lights, religious festivities, cultural performances, and festival activities. You may go there to buy gifts at the well-known Thamel Market and to see rituals at gorgeous temples. Children play with sparklers and firecrackers while fireworks boom over the city. You can feel completely different vibes and positive energy during your exploration on the streets.
You can even join the festival by performing the same rituals as the locals do. You can head out into the streets with your red tika, marigold garlands, and some treats to celebrate Kukur Tihar and thank dogs for their loyalty.
The market has a crazy feel. Beautiful lamps and lights line up in front of every store and market. Each and every home and business is decorated with marigold garlands wrapped around the front doors, and every storefront has a charming, bright front mural. They truly put their all into making each and every one, and they all look gorgeous.
Simply put, it is pleasant to watch people enjoy the holidays. Customers purchase and pay their small vendors selling sweets and treats.There is so much to see and experience everywhere you go. It’s even more exciting to visit the town or bazaar when everything is lit up and bustling with activity. Even they have festival sales in the market.
Trekking plan or village exploration
Visit the villages for a more regional celebration. Stay close to Chitwan National Park to learn about the Tharu group’s celebrations, or climb the circuit close to Annapurna and stay overnight in small villages along the route to enjoy a really one-of-a-kind event.