Tihar, the festival of lights, is a five-day-long Hindu festival in Nepal, the second biggest festival after the Dashain festival.
Popularly known as Deepawali and Yamapanchak, Tihar usually falls in the month of October or November every year. This year, Tihar falls on November 14, 2020. However, the festival celebration starts on November 13, 2020, and ends on November 16, 2020.
During this festival, Nepalis worship the God of Death Yama and animals such as crows, cows, and dogs that have long-lived alongside humans. People also worship the Goddess of Wealth Lakshmi.
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According to the Nepali tradition, the festival begins with Kaag Tihar on Trayodashi of Kartik Krishna Paksha and ends with Bhai Tika on Dwitiya of Kartik Sukla Paksha.
The first day of the Tihar Festival is Kaag Tihar. On this day, people worship crows, which are considered as messengers to Lord Yama. Nepalis believe that by worshipping crows, there will be no news of sorrow to the family.
On this day, people offer different food items to crows early in the morning and pray for luck.
The second day of the festival is known as Kukur (dog) Tihar. On this day, Nepali Hindus worship dogs, which are considered as the guard of Lord Yama. They believe that dogs lead souls to heaven. People worship dogs by offering tika, garland, and delicious foods.
The third day, Gai Tihar, marks the worshiping of holy cows, which are considered a form of Goddess Lakshmi. On this day, people offer special prayers to cows, with tika, garland, and special food items.
The fourth day of the Tihar festival is known as Goru Puja. On this day, Nepali Hindus worship oxen and perform three different pujas, including Govardhan Puja and Mha Puja.
This is the fifth and the last day of the Tihar festival. On this day, sisters put ‘Paanch Rangi Tika’ on their brothers’ foreheads, wishing them a long life and prosperity. The Tika is a combination of five different colors, including yellow, green, red, blue, and white.
Sisters also offer dry fruits such as hazelnut, walnuts, sweets, and fruits to their brothers, wishing them good luck. While brothers give them gifts in return, assuring them protection for the rest of their life.
During this five-day-long festival, people illuminate their homes with bright lights, diyas, and candles and keep their doors open to welcome prosperity. People also light fireworks, filling the sky with colorful lights.
However, the 2020 Tihar Festivals celebrations seem to be quite different from the previous years due to the risk of the coronavirus pandemic. The Nepali Government has instructed people to avoid public gatherings and fireworks to prevent the risk of COVID-19 infection.
NepaliSansar Wishes All Nepalis A Very Happy and Prosperous Tihar!