Tihar, also well renowned as Deepawali is a five day long festival which normally falls in late October or early in early November. According to the Nepalese calendar, the festival starts from Trayodashi of Kartik Krishna to Kartik Shukla Dwitiya, soon after the completion of Dashain. Tihar is celebrated throughout the country including some states in India like: Assam, Sikkim, Darjeeling, West Bengal and some Indian Gorkhas. This festival also contains a great value in Nepal as it also consits of the worshipping of animals like dogs and cows symbolizing an appreciation of their intense relationship with humans. The whole period during this festival contains fascinating lights and a charismatic environment.
During Tihar, all the houses are brightly lit inside and outside by diyas so that, their houses will illuminate at night which is believed to be essential for Gods and Goddesses to enter the house and bless it. They also make beautiful patterns on the floor of either living rooms or their courtyards which is a way of welcoming Hindu Gods and Goddesses, especially, Goddess Laxmi. Such patterns are usually of flowers, gods and even of some holy signs like Swastik, Ohm and are generally made of materials like colored rice, dry flour, colored sand or flower petals. The five days of this festival are spent by worshipping different gods and animals.
The first day is Kaag(crow) Tihar on which crows and ravens are worshipped by offering sweets and dishes placed on the roofs of houses. The crows and Ravens represent sadness and grief in Hinduism and hence, they are offered foods in order to turn away greif and death in their homes. The second day is called Kukur(dog) Tihar on which dogs are worshipped by offering Tika, beautiful flower necklaces and delicious food in order to, cherish the friendly and helpul relationship between humans and dogs. The third day is Gai(Cow) Tihar and Laxmi Puja. On this day, people worship cows showing their gratefulness by offering tika and feeding them the best grass. Houses are cleaned thoroughly and the doorways as well as windows are decorated with the garlands made of marigolds and makhamali flowers. In the evening, Goddess Laxmi is thanked for all the benefits that were bestowed on the family and worshipped by lighting diyos(oil lamps) on the doorways and windows to welcome prosperity and happiness. The young girls play Bhailo whereas, the boys play Deusi in the courtyards of many people singing and dancing with musical instruments collecting money as tip and delicious foods like Selroti.
The fourth day is Gobardhan Puja and often called Mha Puja by local newars on which Goru(Oxen) are worshipped including the the gobar representing Goverdhan mounatain. In newar community, at night they perform Mha Puja which mens worship of self. This day is also called a Vintuna day as the beginning of the new Nepal Sambat calendar year. The fifth and last day of Tihar is called Bhai Tika (Brother) or Kija Puja in newari. On this day, the sisters put tika on the foreheads of their brothers praying for their long life and thank them for the protection that a brother provides a sister. It is believed that anyone who receives tilak from his sister will never die on this day. And Bhai Tika is performed according to the Hindu rituals whereas the sisters are gifted by their brothers for performing the puja. In this way, the beautiful relationship between a brother and a sister is made even stronger through such auspicious day.
Finally, the festival ends after all these pujas and enjoyments. People perform fireworks and add happiness to their days. Visit Nepal during Tihar, observe the charming environment and get a glimpse of happiness and reuniting of Nepalese families enjoying together.