Tihar festival in Nepal

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27/Oct/2023

Tihar festival in Nepal plays an important role in the religious and cultural aspects. Not long after celebrating a grand festival Dashain, a delighting Tihar arrives with enormous joy and Happiness. The shine of lights, the color of Rangoli, the boom of firecrackers, and dancing, and singing from the Deusi and Vailo make Tihar a favorite festival of all time.

Nepal is a tiny land that has diversity in culture and traditions. People celebrate Festivals according to religious and cultural aspects. Dashain and Tihar fall on the Hindu religion, whereas Lhosar falls on the Buddhist religion. Most of the festival in Nepal is based on Hindu mythology.

Festival of Lights

Tihar festival is celebrated for five days in Nepal by worshipping crow, dog, cow, ox, and brothers on the last day. Putting Tika on the forehead and scented garlands on the neck to pray for the long life of brothers add more value to the Tihar festival. This five days period is also called Yampanchak. In all the five days of time houses all over the nation decorate by a long chain of colorful lights and traditional “Diyo”.

Especially, when worshipping goddess Laxmi(Hindu goddess of wealth) people put on bright shiny lights(Diya or Diyo) to attract the goddess, the aura is really divine. Not only in the cities but the villages also adorn with lights as well. Thus, the Tihar festival has another name, Dipawali due to Diyo which means lights and shines everywhere.

When did Tihar is celebrated?

Usually, Tihar falls on the month of Kartik month according to the Nepalese calendar. But on the Western calendar, Tihar falls on the month of October or November. This year Tihar started in November month and the Five Days festival is just four days.

Generally, Tihar or Dipawali used to start from the worshipping of a dog but this year 2020 (crow) Kag Tihar is the first day.

How is the Tihar festival celebrated?

In Nepal, we celebrate Tihar for five days. It is celebrated with gatherings with family members and preparing a variety of delicious foods. “Selroti” a food item prepared with the help of rice flour is very famous at this festival. Other dishes and sugary sweets are gifted from one home to another home in between relatives.

People clean their houses and decorate them with aromatic garlands of beautiful flowers and shiny lights. Particularly, marigolds and purple amaranth play an important role in this festival. Marigold flower is used to decorate houses and amaranth is used to put on brothers. These flowers actually fulfill the ritual of the Tihar or Dipawali festival in Nepal.

Another beautiful part of Tihar is that People visit each other houses playing Deusi Vailo which is similar to the carol in Western communities. Boys and girls play Deusi Vailo till midnights and youths mainly enjoy this singing and dancing to celebrate Tihar.

Moreover, the colorful “Rangoli” made on the door or the floor of the houses using different colors adds more joy to Tihar. The decorative pattern of the Rangoli in outdoor areas of everyone’s house gives a cheerful atmosphere. In addition to this, the sound of firecrackers makes the city very lively.

Attractions of the Tihar Festival

Travelers who visited Nepal during the Tihar festival were surprised by the profuse twinkle nights. Visitors can take part in the following activities during Tihar festivals:

  1. Shop owners of Thamel Bazaar which is the closest tourist hub in Kathmandu, decorates abundantly with colorful shiny lights. Just wandering in the streets of Thamel will make you happy. Youths play Deusi Vailo and use firecrackers to add more warmth to the festival. Various Nepalese restaurants serve traditional Nepalese cuisine these days.
  2. Noisy City Kathmandu shows its real beauty in the colorful nights of the Tihar. Tihar becomes the most colorful night of the year in Kathmandu that holds everyone’s heart. There will be many bright celebrations to attend.

But eventually, these nights in Kathmandu magnified the art in the photography of many photographers and the relations of many couples. This is why Tihar makes the best festival for everyone.

  1. The newly built Rani Pokhari Temple which is in the middle of a pond with divine architecture is more lively in the shines of lights. Not only Rani Pokhari but officials decorate many public temples and ponds perfectly to catch everyone’s eye.

Rituals on Tihar or Dipawali festival in Nepal

Dipawali or Tihar which sounds very similar to Diwali in India might be different in forms of rituals and various ceremonies. As I told you before, Tihar celebrates for five days in Nepal where each day are significant culturally and religiously. Some of the activities we perform in fives days are :

Day 1: On the first day of Tihar, we worship the crow which is the messenger of the Hell king Yamaraj.People believe that crows bring messages from very far away. Even if people condemn crow on other normal days, it is fed with sweet foods on this day.

Day 2: Next day, after the Kag Tihar’s turn goes to Dog, a messenger of Yamaraj. Not only from the religious point of view but according to the present situations, Dog should be worshipped. Since they guard our houses and accompany us Dog deserves this Puja very obviously. People give delicious foods and put on tika and garlands on this Dog Tihar.

Day 3: On the Third morning of Tihar or Dipawali, people worship the cow. The cow is a significant animal for Hinduism, and it is also a national animal of Nepal. The third day of Tihar is actually an important day which usually falls on the new moon day(Aushi). People sing the song “ Hey Aushi Baro Gai Tiharo Vailo” which literally means Hey it’s cow Tihar on the new moon day.

Dipawali Symbol of Britness and Happiness

Moreover, People worship the Goddess of wealth “ Laxmi”. In Nepal, People decorate their houses with colorful lights, scented garlands, and aromatic incense to enchant the money and wealth for the house. This day is also a great day for a businessman, where they praise and worship money and the money bank of the house.

From the evening of Cow Tihar day, people play Deusi Vailo with pleasant music and dance. Children play with firecrackers as well.

Day 4: On the fourth day of Tihar, the Hindu Nepalese worship oxen in the same way as dogs and cows. Outdoor every house has a crowd of dancing and singing group which continues till the midnights. Just roaming in the Tihar nights would make your day.

The Newar community does Mha Puja on this day which means worshipping ourselves and the god inside us.

Day 5: The most important day in Tihar is the last day which is called Bhai Tika. On this day sisters put tika and garlands on brothers and pray for the long life of their brothers. This festival makes the gathering of brothers and sisters very interesting.

In Dashain, people put on red and white tika but in Tihar, they wear 7 colored(Saptarangi) tika. There is a myth that Yamuna(sister of Yamaraj) also did the same for the long life of her brother, so people started to follow these rituals to protect their brothers from enemies and danger.

CONCLUSION of this travel blog

In this way, Nepalese celebrate five days festival of Tihar with joy and fun together with family and relatives. Lastly, the festivals of lights end after Bhai tika. Actually, October and November in Nepal are full of grand festivals like Dashain, Tihar, and Chatth. Eventually, the Tihar Chatth festival specially celebrated to praise the sun god arrives.

Tihar is celebrated in the Autumn season and this season is one of the best times to do other trips around the Himalayas of Nepal. As know, the autumn season is an ideal time to do the treks in Nepal, and most travelers visit the Everest Base Camp, Annapurna Base Camp, Langtang Valley, Upper Mustang, and Manaslu Circuit.

Thus, Nepal is a wonderful land to explore and discover new things, people, cultures, and celebrations.