In Nepal, Diwali, the festival of lights, is being celebrated with traditional gaiety and religious fervour. Diwali is known as Tihar in Nepal, and just like India, it is a five day celebrations. The festival celebrates the win of knowledge over ignorance, the triumph of light over darkness, and recognition of the relationships humans have with all things. On the first day, crows and ravens are worshipped to avert the bad luck.
On the second day, dogs are worshiped so as to cherish the strong bond that these animals enjoy with humans.
Known as ‘Kukur Tihar,’ people offer garlands, tika, and delicious food to dogs.
This event also has a mythological connection. In the Rigveda, Samara — the mother of dogs — assists Indra, the ruler of heaven, in retrieving the stolen cattle. It is said that a dog is the guardian and messenger of Yama, the lord, and judge of the dead.
In the Mahabharata, too, Yudhishthira refuses to enter heaven without his devoted dog. The dog is said to portray the concept of dharma, the path of righteousness.
During this day, a floral necklace, mala, is put on a dog as a mark of respect and dignity.
Also, a tika is applied to the forehead of each dog.
Besides this, on the first day of Tihar, crows (or ravens) are worshiped by offerings of sweets. The cawing of crows symbolizes sadness and grief in Hinduism, hence, devotees offer crows and ravens food to eliminate sadness from their lives.
The third day is celebrated as Diwali. On the fourth day of Tihar, cows are worshipped. This is called Goru Tihar (Goru means cow). Some people of Nepal observe the day as the start of the Nepalese New Year.
The Tihar festival concludes with Bhai Tika (Bhai Dooj in India) on the fifth day.