Interested in Kathmandu?
We'll send you updates with the latest deals, reviews and articles for Kathmandu each week.
Topics include Transportation, Nepal: For Foreign Visitors & more!
Tihar is the festival of lights, colors and flowers, love, music and wealth which is why it is also Deepawali. Mainley this festival is related with brother sister relations from the legend of Yamaraj(God of death) and his sister Yamuna. The legend based on the festivals goes like this : Onece upon a time Yamuna wanted to meet his brother Yamaraj as it was so many years she could not meet her brother as Yamaraj was always busy in Yamalok (City of Yamaraj where people are judged after death). Yamuna sent crow to with the invitation to meet but Yamaraj rejected the invitation. In very next day she sent dog to invite Yamaraj again Yamaraj rejected saying he was busy. Next day she sent cow to invite and the invitation was rejected and on the next day Ox was sent and again the invitation was rejected. On the next day she had no one to send to invite Yamaraj and she herself went to Yamalok and meet Yamaraj and worshipped him with seven colourful tika, delicious sweets, fruits and Sell (Doughnut like sweet dish made from rice flower) furhtermore making a circle ring around the ground where Yamaraj was seated and putting the garland (Mala) of Makhmali flower on his neck and said "brother you became so busy with your work, and did not accept the invitation to meet, now you can not go out of this oil ring untill it is dry and Makhmali flower gets wither. From this legend people celeberate tihar. for 5 days.
Beside this legend people in Nepal also have various norms and rituals in Tihar. There is a tradition of Deusi and Bhailo on 3rd and 4th day of Tihar, troops of young boys and girls go from house to house in special musical rituals meeting and greeting house members and singing and dancing blessing songs and giving blessings of welath, health and prosperity which are believed those blessings of Deusi and Bhailo troops works and give positive effects on their house, so house family members happily pays money, foods, drinks in return for getting blessings.
Gambling also has a major value during this festivals. People play cards, Langur buirja, Passa and Kauda (Other traditional gambling games in Nepal) within family and with relatives friends. On the 3rd day of Laxmi Puja people play gambling games untill late night believing that in those house where people are enjoying gambling and those houses where people are awake untill late night, goddess Laxmi pays visit to see how people are enjoying.
Day by day celeberation of Tihar festivals:
The first day of Tihar is called Kag (crow) Tihar because crow is worshipped on this day. People offer delicacies to the crows on this day. Crow is believed to be the messenger of the underworld king Yamaraj, so its worship is supposed to ward of the evil of death and grief. Nature worship is an important aspect of Hinduism as different animals, plants and geography are taken as the rides, manifestations, and abodes of the gods. So Kag Tihar can also be understood as the celebration of the communion between humans and nature.
The second day of Tihar is the day of the dogs (kukurs). Dogs are garlanded around their necks and given the delicacies. Dogs are believed to be the gatekeepers of the underworld king Yamaraj, so its worship is in the belief of placating Yamaraj. Kukur Tihar can also be understood as part of the nature worship of the Hindus.
Gai Tihar and Laxmi Puja
This is perhaps the most spectacular day of Tihar. In the morning cow (Gai) is worshipped. In the Hinduism, cow is taken as the symbol of prosperity and wealth. In the evening, people make an extravagant display of lights in and out of their house to worship Laxmi, the goddess of wealth. Laxmi is believed to abhor darkness and like light, so numerous candles are lit in every nook and corner of the houses and even in the courtyard outside. Youth send firecrackers in the sky, and troops of young girls called Bhaileni move from house to house invoking the blessings from gods. The households donate money and other offerings because that it is believed to be an auspicious moment for donating and these donations are believed to multiply the prosperity.
Oxen are worshipped on the fourth day of the Tihar. Troops of young boys move from house to house playing the Deusi, like Bhailo played by the girls the evening before. Newars perform Mha Puja, a special ritual in which people worship themselves. Special delicacies are prepared and enjoyed in the form of family meal. Because the body is believed to seal the soul and maintaining a healthy body is a must for the protection of the self, Mha Puja is performed by the Newars.
The fifth and final day of Tihar. Sisters perform a special ritual and put seven-colored tika on the foreheads of their brothers. Then they put special flower garlands around the neck of their brothers. This is believed to bestow long life and good health for the brothers.
For other information visit Tihar Festival.