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The joyous celebrations of Tihar festival

Tihar, also known as Deepawali or the festival of lights, is one of the most anticipated and joyous celebrations in Nepal. This five-day Hindu festival is a time of great significance, where homes and streets are adorned with colourful decorations, oil lamps, and beautiful rangoli designs. Tihar, which typically falls in October or November, is a time for communities to come together to celebrate, worship, and strengthen bonds with family and friends.

The first day of Tihar is known as Kaag Tihar when crows are worshipped with offerings of food to honour their role as messengers in Hindu mythology.

The second day is Kukur Tihar, a day dedicated to worshipping dogs, who are regarded as loyal companions and guards. Homes are filled with delicious treats for these beloved animals.

The third day is Gai Tihar when cows are adorned with garlands and worshipped for their sacred status in Hinduism. This day also pays homage to Laxmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, with homes being illuminated to invite her blessings.

On the fourth day, people honour themselves through self-worship, cleaning and decorating their bodies and surroundings. Newar communities in the Kathmandu Valley also celebrate Newari New Year or Nepal Sambat.

The fifth and final day of Tihar is known as Bhai Tika, a day to celebrate the special bond between brothers and sisters. Sisters perform rituals and offer tika (a mixture of yogurt, rice, and vermilion) on their brothers’ foreheads, while brothers give gifts and promise to protect their sisters. This day symbolizes love, trust, and the unique bond between siblings.

Tihar is a time of immense joy and togetherness, with families reuniting, feasting on delectable traditional dishes, and exchanging gifts. The atmosphere is filled with music, dance, and the beautiful sounds of traditional instruments. It’s a celebration that not only strengthens familial bonds but also brings the entire community together to share in the happiness and festivities.

Tihar is a time when people express their gratitude for the abundance in their lives and seek blessings for a prosperous future. The festival’s emphasis on love, respect, and the celebration of various aspects of life makes it one of the most joyous and cherished celebrations in Nepal, where the light of hope and happiness shines brightly in every corner of the country.