Tihar is one of the second biggest festivals right after the Great Dashain Festival in Nepal. It is also known as the Five Day Festival which is celebrated all over Nepal. Before this festival begins, people clean their houses, decorated with their own interest and make it attractive. Tihar is a great festival because it shows the importance of animals such as dog, crow, oxen, cow which maintains the relationship between animals and human. It is the festival of lights which signifies the festival of lights.
Tihar is celebrated from Tryodashi of Kartik Krishna to Kartik Sukla Dwitiya every year. Tihar in general celebrated by worshipping the Hindu Goddess Laxmi ad the other avatars of Gods for five Days.
This is how Tihar is celebrated in Nepal
1) Kag Tihar (Crow Worship) First Day
The very first day of Tihar is called Kag Tihar and crows are worshipped by offering foods early in the morning on the roof of the house. Crows are considered to be the messenger of the death which symbolizes sadness and grief in the Hindu religion. According to the Hindu religion, people believe that crows get the messages to the house, this is why crows are worshipped to bring good luck ourselves. So it averts grief and death in their houses.
2) Kukur Tihar (Dog Worship) Second Day
Dogs are worshipped in the second day by offering foods and flower garlands in their necks as well as putting red Tika on their forehead. Dogs are believed to be the messenger of Lord Yamaraj ( the God of Death). Also, dogs are regarded as the envoy of the Yama. This is why on second-day dogs are worshipped early in the morning which acknowledge the cherished relationship between Human and dogs.
3) Laxmi Puja (Cow Worship_ Third Day)
This day is called Laxmi Puja or Gai Puja. Cows are worshipped early in the morning by offering foods, flower garland on their neck and red Tika on the forehead and with sesame oil light. Cows are regarded as a mother in Hindu culture this is why Laxmi Puja is most important during Tihar. It is also believed that Cow is as Goddess Laxmi ( the Goddess of wealth and prosperity) that she would bring fortune to the worshipper. Disciples are trying to pass in between the four legs of the cows to get a good luck. Women fast on this day and prepare sel roti, Fini and other varieties of the homemade bakery for offering Goddess. Each and every house are graced by the candlelight or Dhago lights (twisted cotton wick). This is the day people start to play Bhaili by singing and dancing moving house to house and collects money as a tip from the house or foods and shares amongst themselves.
4) Goverdhan Puja ( Oxen Worship)
On the fourth day, oxen are worship by following same as crow, cow, dog. It is named differently according to their theme, and cultural based. People use cow dung to make a hill and performance Goverdhan Puja. In the night people start to play Deusi same as Bhailo.
5) Bhai Tika (Worship of Sisters and Brothers)
The fifth day is called Bhai Tihar, This day sisters prepare seven colours of Tika, different varieties of foods, Sagun(dry fruits such as walnuts, hazelnuts, sweets etc.) and in return brothers gives a gift to sister. At first, sister puts tika on brother’s forehead to ensure long life and prays to Yamaraj for between for brother’s long life and prosperity. When the sister is done then brother gives tika to sister’s forehead and bows to sisters feet to assure her to protect her till the end of life.