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Tihar As celebrated in Nepal
By Kelsang Bajracharya

Tihar or Dipawali (known as Diwali in India) is a Hindu festival of celebrated for five days during late October. The festival, which is also known as festival of light, has a tradition of decorating all the houses with bright lights. Traditionally, oil lit lamps were used as source of light but increasing people use candles and electronic lights as well (like the one used in Christmas).

The Legend
Dipawali is also known as 'Panchak Yama' which means five days of the underworld lord Yama or Yamaraj.


Kag Puja (Crow Worship) - Crows, considered to be messenger of death, are offered food in the morning before anybody in household eats.

Kukur Puja (Dog Worship) - Dogs are traditionally been the guardian of people’s house as well as that of Yamaraj's underworld. On this day, dogs are worshipped with red Tika on its forehead, a flower garland around the neck and with delicious meal.

Laxmi Puja and Gai Puja (Worship of Godess of Wealth and Luck Laxmi) - The most important day of the festival goddess of wealth Laxmi is worshipped.

Gai (cow) symbolizes wealth, thus Laxmi. Cows are worshipped in the early morning worshipped with red Tika on its forehead, a flower garland around the neck and with delicious meal. On this day people tie a string in the cow's tail which they have worn during the Raksha Bandhan (Raksha bandhan is celebrated in the month of August). It is believed by doing so after our death the cow will help to pull us from hell and will take directly to heaven.


Goddess Laxmi was born on Aushi (no moon in the sky) but we celebrate and welcome her birthday with full of lights all over the country. On this day people clean their houses and wipe their house with Red Mud (Rato Mato) making a small circle with a Diya (altar) on top starting from the entrance door and drawing a line with the red mud towards the room where we have our Goddess Laxmi. People offers flowers and sweet to the goddess and prays for prosperity and wealth. It is believed that by worshipping Laxmi and pleasing her in return she gives us wealth.

Young girls and women they go door to door singing Bhailani (A special song for Tihar). If a Bhailo groups comes to a house then it is considered auspicious as these groups gives us blessing and good luck. In return people offers them with Selroti (a special kind of Nepali bread which is made during Tihar), sweets and money.

Gobhardhan Puja and Maha Puja (Worship of Gobhardhan and Worship of Body) - Maha Puja is the new year of the ethnic group Newars. This puja is done specially in the evening and is done only by the Newars. Maha puja is known as self-puja. It is done to purify our body. In this puja a Mandap decorated with Saipatri (marigold flower), sweets and fruits and a special Mala (garland) which is made of thread is kept. Each remember of the family has one Mandap. A female member of the family offers the person sitting on the Mandap a Shagun with her hands crossed. Shagun consist usually consist of fried eggs, fruits, sweets, meat, fish, lentil patties. In the left hand with egg and fish and in the right hand Rakshi (Alcohol). During this day many Nepali children and young men go house to house singing Deusi. Deusi is very similar to Bhailo.

Bhai Tika (Brother Worship) - It is the last day of Tihar. Bhai Tika known as brother and sister day, sister pray to Yamraja for her brother's long life and prosperity.

A Mandap is made in the name of her brother in the same way as it is done during Maha puja. Then the sister put Paanch Rangi Tika (Five colored) -- Yellow, green, red, blue and white color ,offers him Shagun, fruits and sweets and in return the brother gives their sister gifts or money. On this day ,Rani Pokhari Temple will be opened for those who don't have any brother or sister. They go there and the pandits (priests) puts for them Tika.

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