Tihar, Diwali, Deepawali, Yamapanchak festival in Nepal

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Tihar, Deepawali, Diwali, and Yamapanchak is a festival celebrated by Hindus all over the world. Diwali and Deepawali are a similar thing. But the correct version is Deepawali. The word Deepawali in Sanskrit means “A Row of Lights”. Diwali and Deepawali both are festivals of a banquet of lights.

Days of Tihar Festival in Nepal and India

Kaag Tihar(1st day–A Crow Festival)

kaag tihar | crow festival in Nepal
Crow Festival in Nepal

Kaag Tihar is the first day of the Tihar festival where they worship Crow. Crows are considered to be a messenger of the “God of death” i.e. Yamaraj, in Hinduism. Crows are worshipped to avoid death in Family. This festival only happens in Nepal and some parts of India.

Naraka Chaturdasi and Kukur Tihar in Nepal(2nd day-Dog Festival)

What is Naraka Chaturdashi?

Narakasura; a king of Pragjyotisha conquered the earth and got drunk of his powers. Narakasura had Mura as his Kingdom guard. Mura was given a  boon by mighty Brahma that whoever he touches shall die.  Shree Krishna with his wife Satyabhama killed the evil king Narakasura and his Kingdom Guard Mura. This is why Sri Krishna is also known as Murari. 

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Narakasura asked for a boon to have his death celebrated every year with feasts of lights. Naraka Chaturdasi 2020 is celebrated with lights and is the first day of Deepawali.

In other versions, it is also said that Mahakali killed the Demon Narak and a young lady killed Mura. Lord Vishnu gave a boon to her and kept her name Ekadasi. Those who fast on her day, will burn up all their sins and bestow to Baikuntha.

Which Country Worships dog?

kukur tihar in nepal | Dog festival in nepal
Dog Festival in Nepal
Kukur Tihar is a festival in Nepal where dogs are worshipped. In Hinduism, Dogs are the Guards of the Narak(नरक), a Hindu concept for hell. Dogs are worshipped as they also work for Yamaraj.

On this day, dogs are given delicious food, worshipped with garlands and flowers and putting Tika. Nepal is the only country in the world where dogs are worshipped every year. Apart from the mythical aspect, dogs are worshipped for their loyalty and also for being a best friend of a man since the beginning of the time.

3.Gai Tihar(Cow Festival) and Laxmi Puja – 3rd day

Why is cow worshipped in Hinduism?

Cow Tihar in Nepal

Cows are worshipped as Goddess in Hinduism for their purity. Cows are worshipped in the morning of Gai Tihar with garlands and tika. They apply oil to their horns and salt is offered to the cow. A yellow roti made out of rice mixed with turmeric powder is offered to the cow. A cow is a symbol of peace and prosperity in a Hindu Family.

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What is Rangoli?

rangoli in deepawali made in nepal
Rangoli in Deepawali at Courtyard.

In the evening of 3rd day, Goddess Laxmi is worshipped. Goddess Laxmi is the symbol of wealth in Hinduism. It is believed that Laxmi visits those houses which are lit by burning oil lamps( दियो) in the doorways and passages. The existence of light also means the end of darkness and evil powers. Nowadays people use modern LED lights to light their houses. People make Rangolis on the courtyard(आंगन) of their houses. Rangolis are colourful shapes and designs made on the floor using different colours and flower petals. Hindus, all around the globe make Rangolis on the occasion of Laxmi Puja.

Business brightens at Kathmandu's bazaars
Lights in Tihar at Home
What is Deusi Bhailo in Nepal?
Deusi Bhailo Group

There is another tradition in Nepali Culture to play Deusi and Bhailo. The people of Nepal Cook Special type of Rotis like Sel Roti, Fini Rotis etc. on the occasion of Deepawali.  Deusi and Bhailo have few resemblances with the Halloween’s Trick or Treat celebrated in American Culture. The only difference is Friends and Family make a group and visit different houses, where they sing and dance to a traditional tune. These group of people are called “Bhailini”. Bhailini moves from house to house and offers blessings to the family members of the house. In return, the family has to offer whatever they have. Some offer cash and Homemade Sel Roti(सेल रोटी)and Fini Roti(फिनी रोटी).

Selroti Stock Photo - Download Image Now - iStockKameido Spice House - Phini roti.... | Facebook

Govardhan Puja/ Goru Tihar/ Mha Puja / Bali Padyami-4th day

How to do Govardhan Puja at home?

Govardhan Puja is done, as on this day, Sri Krishna Lifted the mighty Govardhan hill to protect his villagers from Rain as the King of Heaven i.e. Indra became angry with people because they didn’t worship him. Govardhan puja is also known as Annakoot puja.

What is the mantra for Govardhan Pooja?

लक्ष्मीर्या लोकपालानां धेनुरूपेण संस्थिता।घृतं वहति यज्ञार्थ मम पापं व्यपोहतु।।

Below are the steps to Govardhan Pooja:

  1. Make a small demo of a hill out of cow dung or garden soil.
  2. Offer 2 sticks of sugar cane.
  3. Offer laddu, Peda, milk and yoghurt.
  4. Light oil lamp Deepak and offer rice.
  5. Place a flute to pray Sri Krishna.
  6. Offer flowers
  7. Go around the Demo Parvat 7 times.
  8. Read the mantra.
  9. Do the arati and end the session.

On this day, Ox is worshipped in Nepal. There is another tradition in Newari Culture in Nepal where one worships self at Night.

This day also marks the day when Lord Vishnu’s 5th  incarnation Vamana(a dwarf) asked king Mahabali for 3 steps of land and Vamana covered the whole universe in 2 steps. For the last step, Mahabali offered his head and he was sent to Sutala by Vamana. Sutala(सुताल) is a one the places like Patala(पाताल) as said in Vishnu Puran.

King Bali and Origination of Deusi Bhailo in Nepal

The exact origination of Deusi Vailo played in Nepal is unknown, but in the lyrics of the song, it is said “We are sent by King Mahabali”

Bhai Dooj, Bhaubeej, Bhai Tika, Bhai Phonta- 5th day

What is Bhai Dooj and Bhai Tika?

Bhai Dooj, Bhaubeej, Bhai Tika, Bhai Phonta is a festival celebrated by Hindus all around the world. On this day, sisters put tika on their brother’s forehead. This is done to ensure the long life and safety of their brothers.

bhai tika saptarangi tika in nepal
Forehead Tika in Bhai Tika

How do they perform Bhai Tika? Why do they break walnuts in Bhai Tika?

First, brothers sit on the floor and sisters make a line of a circle of protection with oil. They then apply oil on ears and head of brothers. Sisters, then put tikas on the forehead. There are seven different coloured tikas thus called Saptarangi Tika. Brothers also put tikas on sisters and they exchange the gifts. This ritual is thought to make the brother-sister bond stronger. There is a tradition in Nepal where sisters have to break walnuts with stone at one shot. The walnuts are pretended as to be the enemies of brothers which sisters break in pieces and to ensure the safety of the brother.

What is Yampanchak?

Once Yamaraj, the god of death went to stay for 5 days at his sister’s house and it was the time of Tihar. This is why this festival is also called Yampanchak.

On Diwali, people eat sweets and light firecrackers. The sky is bright and colourful with fireworks.

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