By Anu Tandukar

Among all other festivals in Nepal, Tihar, also known as Deepawali, is one of my favorites. It is a five-day long festival observed by both Hindus and Buddhists. All ethnic groups celebrate this festival.

The festival of Tihar is considered as one of the major festivals because it shows deep reverence not only to humans, but also to the birds and animals who are believed to have a divine attachment with humans.

Therefore, among the five days of the festival, the first day is celebrated worshipping crows. It is known as “Kag Tihar”, meaning crow. The crows are worshipped by offerings of sweets and other food items on the roof of houses. In the Hindu mythology, the cawing of the crows is their way of telling the humans that there is some kind of news. Hence, the devotees offer the crows to avert bad news.

Dogs are worshipped on the very second day of Tihar. Dogs are offered garlands and delicious food items as to cherish the relationship between humans and dogs.

On the third day, cows are worshipped as they are the sign of prosperity. People show their gratefulness towards cows since they provide us with milk, fertilizer (manure), etc. On this day, houses are decorated with garlands made of marigolds.

Different ethnic backgrounds have different ways of celebrating the fourth day depending on which group they fall. People from my ethnic background celebrate the fourth day by worshipping themselves for their own well-being.

On the fifth and the last day, all women invite their brothers over and worship them to cherish the relationship of a brother and a sister. Sisters prepare good foods for their brothers and brother bring gifts in return.

Gambling and drinking also take place during the festival for those who want to participate. Since Tihar is a festival of lights, numerous candles are lit inside and outside the houses during the festival. The lights make the cities look very bright and beautiful. The fun celebration starts November 1!