As I have mentioned in my earlier posts Dashain is the most important festival for Nepalese, the second most important festival for us is Tihar or Deepawali. While Dashain is all about Goat meat food wise, Tihar is about home made Nepali sweet dishes such a Sell Roti, Anarasha, Fini, Malpua and so on.
Tihar is a five day extravaganza with each day holding some religious significance. Tihar starts with “Kaag Puja” worshipping the crow. Crow is considered as the messenger of hindu God Yamaraj. On Kaag tihar, we offer food and puja to crow on a plate made of leaves which is called tapari. This tapari is usually put on the terrace so that the crow will be able to eat the food offered to it.
The second day is “Kukur Puja”, worshipping the Dog as an avatar of hindu God Bhairab and as Yamaraj’s gate keeper. On this day we offer puja and good food for the dog in our house and if we do not have a dog we offer puja to stray dogs.
The third day is the most significant day and we offer puja to hindu goddess of wealth Laxmi. This day is also called as Deepawali or Laxmi Puja. On this day, we clean our house and decorate it with marigold flowers to welcome the “goddess of wealth” in our house and bless us with prosperity throughout the year. Laxmi puja is my favourite day. On this day I make rangoli, “laxmi ko paila”(footsteps of goddess Laxmi), and light “diyo”(oil lamps) all over the house. After this we perform puja and eat sweets.
The fourth day is “Goverdhan Puja” for Bahuns and Chettris and Mha puja for Newars. Goverdhan puja is done by making a small heap of cow dung and offering puja to it. Goverdhan literally translates to Gover=cow dung and dhan=wealth, which means cow dung is equivalent to wealth as it makes the soil fertile. This is basically to show respect to the cattles who give us milk, plough our land and make our land fertile. Even though my Mom is a Newar, I don’t know much about Mha puja other than the fact that is a puja of the self done to purify and respect god within us.
The final day is Bhai Tika, which is today. In Nepali bhai means brother so it can be called brother’s day. On this day we perform puja on our brothers and pray for their long life. This is also my favourite day since my brother spoils me with gifts on this day. Its been three years since I celebrated Bhai tika with my brother, so I’m missing him a lot today :(.
This is a brief description of 5 days of Tihar. In my next post, I will talk about my this years’ Laxmi Puja in detail.