Tihar is yet another great Hindu festival falling in the month of late October and early November, also well-known as the festival of lights. The festival regards to the worshiping of Goddess Laxmi (the goddess of wealth). Hindus celebrate the festival by decorating their houses with lit oil lamps. The nights in the entire city looks like a sparkling diamond, thus it is also popular as ‘Deepawali’ festival. The festival lasts for five days. The festival has a meaning for life and prosperity. This great Hindu festival is more eco-friendly that inspires to worship the living creatures in the world.
The first day of Tihar is ‘Kag Tihar’, appreciation of crows. Crow refers to as the messenger of death and honoured on the first day of the festival. The second day is ‘Kukur Tihar’, felicitation of dogs. We pray to the dogs to look after our houses as they guard the gate of the underworld (Patal or Yamalok) and to avoid destruction that might overcome to our homes. On this day the dogs seem running around with garlands on their neck.
Similarly, the third day is the most important day of the festival and well-known as ‘Laxmi Puja’. It is the day when the worshiping of goddess of wealth takes place. Hindu devotees offer cows with ‘Tika’ on her forehead and a garland around her neck; then she gets some delicious food. A cow also symbolizes as wealth and she is the most holy animal for Hindus. Every houses worship goddess Laxmi in the evening. They clean and decorate their houses for the festival. A small portion of the house outside the main gate is painted with red mud and an oil lamp is lit on it. A pathway is made from here to the ‘Puja room’ where a safe and valuables are kept. People believe that goddess Laxmi makes a world tour on her owl (mode of transportation) on the third day midnight checking how people are worshiping her.
The fourth day is the ox’s day. The ox is worshiped with ‘Tika’, garland and then a delicious meal is served because they help us in farming to plough and providing the cow dung as fertilizer. People build a small hill of cow dung and put some grasses on it then perform ‘Puja’ on it. The Newar community performs ‘Mha Puja’ which literally means worshiping of you.
The last day of the festival is ‘Bhai Tika’; sisters put seven colour ‘Tika’ on the forehead of their brothers and wish their long life from ‘Yamaraj’ (the god of the underworld). So, this festival refers to as the festival of brothers and sisters.
Girls and boys forming a group or separately visit every houses in their locality in the evening and sing a special ‘Tihar song’. The group wishes prosperity of the house members and they offer the performers with some cash and ‘selroti’ as gift.