Tihar Festival in 2021

Tihar Festival in 2021

Another auspicious festival for Nepalese is the Tihar festival. People celebrate this it is the Tihar festival. It comes few days after the Dashain festival. People also this festival as Yampanchak. Tihar is also popularly known as Deepawali. People know this as the festival of lights. People decorate their houses with a long chain of artificial and traditional deeya’s. Deeya is a small traditional lamp made of clay. People put oil and short twisted cotton thread on the pot and burn the Deeya all night long.  Oil is continuously put in the lamp so that light would not stop.

The celebration goes on for five days. Every Nepalese household celebrate this festival grandly by doing ceremonial rituals with extended family members. Families prepare varieties of foods, decorate their house, and play Deusi and Bhailo. Deusi and Bhailo are like Carol singing. People who participate in Deusi Bhailo visit several places singing and dancing and giving blessings.

In this article, we will discuss why Nepalese celebrate Tihar and how people celebrate Tihar.

Tihar falls few weeks after the grand Bijaya Dashami (Dashain) festival. For 2021, the Tihar festival is from 3 November to 6 November. And as per the Nepali calendar, it falls from 17 Kartik 2078 to 20 Kartik 2078. Kaag Tihar is the first day of these festivities. Following Kaag Tihar is Kukur Tihar, Gai puja, and Laxmi puja. Mha puja is the third-day festivity, which people from the Newar community celebrate. And Bhai Tika concludes the festival. 

How is the Tihar festival celebrated in Nepal?

Day 1 of Tihar is Kaag Tihar. On this day, people worship Kaag (crow). In the superstitious society of Nepal, the crow signifies the bearer of bad news. So people worship crow and offer grains and rice to make them happy. So that in the coming days, these creatures will not bring any bad news.

Day 2 of Tihar consists of three essential ceremonies. Kukur Tihar, Gai Tihar, and Laxmi Puja all fall on this day. People honor dogs by worshipping them in Kukur Tihar. They are worn garlands of marigold flowers and offered delicious foods. In Nepalese society, people believe that dogs guide the dead souls to reach heaven. Another event of this day is Gai Tihar. People consider Gai (cow) as the reincarnation of Goddess Laxmi, also known as the god of wealth. People during the day worship cows and offer food.

And lastly, people do Laxmi puja. Since this day includes three significant events, families get busy doing all the ceremonial rituals. Some family members get busy cleaning the house, some preparing the feast, and some worshiping dogs and cows. And at night, they worship the goddess Laxmi for prosperity and wealth. Decorative lights are lit to guide the goddess Laxmi to their home. Likewise, they make tiny footsteps of Laxmi and draw rangoli at the entrance of the house.

Day 3 of the Tihar festival is Mha puja, Goru puja, and Govardhan Puja. All the Hindu household does Puja of Goru (Ox) and offer them delicious foods. Ox is an essential animal for farmers to use for agricultural purposes. Additionally, people also worship cow dung as the symbolic representative of Govardhan Mountain during Govardhan Puja. Every Hindu household of Nepal performs these two rituals. And lastly, the Newar community celebrates Mha puja. This very day is also the New Year for the Newar community, and they marked this new beginning by doing Puja of themselves. Hence it is called Mha puja. On this day, the streets of Kathmandu are filled with people of the Newar ethnic group as they all come on the roads with traditional musical instruments and welcome the New Year grandly.

Day 4 of Tihar is Bhai Tika. It is an important day for every brother and sister. On this day, sister worships their brother for their success and prosperous life. Bhai in English is a brother; thus, it is called Bhai Puja. Sister Puja their brother by putting garland on their neck and putting seven Tika colors on the forehead, each color has its signifying meaning. As a thank you for wishing upon them, Brothers gives money, clothes, and sweets to their sister. There is a profound mythological story behind this festivity. As per the myth, when the goddess Yamuna’s brother was mortally sick, Yama, the god of death, came to take his soul. She pleaded with Yama to wait until she had finished her final Puja for her brother. She performed along with the puja ceremony, including Yama, and asked him not to take his brother until the Tika on his forehead is washed away and the flower garland around his neck is wilted. Since then on Bhai Tika is relevant. Sister put a garland of Makhani and marigold flower on the brother’s neck. Makhani flower signifies longevity; hence it is used for Bhai Tika. Nowadays, sisters without brothers perform the Bhai Tika ceremony on each other.

And this way, people in Nepal celebrate this auspicious festival. Tihar festival is a celebration of delight and happiness. People celebrate this festival with joy. From day second till the last day of Tihar, people play Deusi and Bhailo. People visit one another house playing Deusi and Bhailo. Every household prepares Sel roti, a traditional food of Nepal that can be considered sweet delights. All in all, Nepalese celebrate this festival with convention and love amongst each other.

About Author

Balaram Thapa

Balaram Thapa, an executive director at Nepal Hiking Team had a long journey before making NHT one of the revolutionary tour operators in this competitive field of Tourism. He finished his Bachelor’s degree in Travel and Tourism from Tribhuwan University in the year 2000.

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