Tihar/Diwali: the greatest festival of lights

Make a trip for Nepal Temples & Pagodas Tour if you are planning to embrace “The Biggest Festival of Lights in Nepal” in this Diwali.

Tihar/Diwali is the biggest festival of lights or flowers or joys. This festival is celebrated using different names such as Dipawali, Bhai Tika, Laxmi Puja etc. The Biggest Festival of Lights is also known as festival of flowers or festival of sisterhood or brotherhood. It is celebrated in five-days and these days are called Panchak or Yama Panchak. During this festival, different animals such as crow, dog, and cow are worshipped. People worship the Hindu Goddess of Fortune or Wealth (Goddess Laxmi) and enjoy cooking delicious meals (as Selroti), fly kites, decorate homes and streets with lights and garlands (Mala in Nepali).

The meanings of Tihar/Diwali, its symbols and rituals, and the reasons for celebration are innumerable. Diwali celebrates Lord Rama’s glorious and long-awaited return to his Kingdom of Ayodhya after his fourteen long years of exile in the forests. It also commemorates Lord Krishna’s victory over the demon Narakaasura who had kidnapped and terrorized the gopis of Vrindavan. When the evil Naraka was finally killed by Bhagwan Krishna and Satyabhaama, he begged pitifully for mercy; thus, upon his entreaties, it was declared that this day of his death would be celebrated with great joy and festivity. It is also celebrated as the day Bhagwan Vishnu married Maha Lakshmi.

The first day of Tihar is called Kag Tihar (crow). In this day, all members of the family separate a portion of their meal and offer for Kag. Sisters offer worship for Kag before taking meal. Kags are considered as the messenger of the Lord of Death (Yam). Hence, people worship Kag and offer meal to keep them happy.

The second day is named as Kukur Tihar (dog). In this day sisters worship Kukur offering delicious meal, put red Tika on their forehead and flower garland around their necks. Kukur is also culturally worshipped because it is believed that, when Yudhisthir went to heaven with his brothers and family after the Great War of Mahabharat, Kukur was only one which reached alive to heaven along with him even his brave brothers were died on the way.

The third day is called Gai Tihar (cow). Culturally, Gai is regarded as mother and called Gaumata (Mother Cow). It is regarded as sacred animal and worshiped as mother. In Hinduism, Gauhatya (killing of Cow) is considered as sin. During this day, Gai is worshipped by putting Tika on her forehead, flower garland around her neck and offering good meals. People spray drops of Gaumutra (cow’s urine) to purify their body and home.

During night, people worship Goddess Laxmi (Goddess of wealth) and it is called Laxmi Puja. During Laxmi Puja, pictures or icons of Laxmi Devi (Goddess) are worshiped. It is performed using flowers, incense, oil lamps, color-powders, bell and money. It is believed that, if you worship Goddess Laxmi with devotion, then your life will be prosperous with the blessing of Goddess Laxmi. After Laxmi Puja, group of female sing Bhailo or Bhailini door to door of community. Bhailini song offer joy, prosperity and blessing to the household where it is played.

The fourth day is called Goru Tihar and people do Gobardhan puja. In this day Goru is worshipped as they are used to till lands for agriculture and pull the carts. During day time, group of male sing Deusi song.

The fifth and the final day is known as Bhai Tika. Bhai Tika has cultural importance as sisters wish a long life to their brothers (Bhai). During this day, sisters give Tika (a colored powder placed on one’s forehead), and mala (a necklace of flowers) to brothers along with wishes for long life and prosperity. Brothers and sisters exchange their gifts. During Tika, sisters pray for their brother’s long life to the Hindu God of Death, Yam. It is believed that breaking Okhar (walnut) and circling oil drips around brothers by sisters, keeps yam away from brothers and they have long life.

Tihar/Diwali-the festival of lights, in overall, signifies the triumph of good over evil, of righteousness over treachery, of truth over falsehood, and of light over darkness. Tihar is the festival when sisters wish a long life to their brothers (Bhai).

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