Essay on Tihar Festival – 800+ Words
Tihar is one of the biggest festivals celebrated in Nepal after Dashain. With the end of Dashain, we have Tihar just around the corner. Tihar is celebrated not only in Nepal but also in some states of India. It is also popularly known as Dipawali and even as the “Festival of Lights”. Tihar is considered to be of great importance as it shows the contribution to not just the humans and the gods, but also to the animals like crows, cows, and dogs that maintain an intimate relationship with the humans. The main Goddess that is worshiped in this festival is Goddess Laxmi, also known as the goddess of wealth and luck.
Tihar falls right after Dashain. It falls in the month of Kartik (October to November in Solar Calendar) and continues for five days. This festival has its own unique ways of celebration. Each of the 5 days of this festival is for celebrating and worshipping different animals and gods. The first day of Tihar is known as Kaag puja (worship of crows).
In ancient mythology, Crows are known to be the “messenger of death”. And the first day of Tihar is their only day of rest. So to ensure they have proper rest, people feed crows and worship them lest to prevent any negative news to be informed which would bring a bad omen. People worship the crows to bring good luck to themselves.
The second day of Tihar is known as Kukur Puja (Worship of dogs). It is to worship a mans’ best friend, dogs. On this day dogs are treated with delicious treats and hung garlands on their neck with tikas on their forehead. We can see many dogs roaming around the city with a tika and a garland on their necks on this day. It is believed that dogs can see incoming dangers and death and is the “gatekeeper of the underworld”. It would be for the best if every stray dog we see on the streets treated this way each and every day.
The third day of Tihar is Gai Puja – Laxmi Puja (worship of the cows and goddess Laxmi). This is a special day which has its own separate set of celebrations. In the mornings, the cows are worshipped and hung garland around their necks, with their body in red colors with holy strings tied onto their tails. In Hinduism, cows signify wealth and prosperity. The uses of cows have outstripped many domesticated animals. So on this day the cows are worshipped and fed the juiciest of grass as a sign of gratitude. In the afternoons, the entire house is cleaned and groomed. People may even put fancy lights on their rooms and outside their houses.
Houses are cleaned and the doorways and windows are decorated with garlands made of Saya Patri (marigolds) and Makhamali (Gomphrena globosa) flowers. People also put paint small patterns of footprints to and from their entrance to their rooms as to invite Laxmi in. In the night, we can see beautiful and dazzling lights from Diyo(oil lamp) as well as fancy lights. This is done to attract Goddess Laxmi’s attention. The night of the Gai puja is truly a spectacle to look at. Starting this day, people (especially children and teenagers) come together and travel house to house sing Deusi and Bhailos (traditional songs) and earn money as well. The people who witness these traditional songs give some amount of money as an offering. Offerings may also include delicious Sel Rotis (traditionally homemade circle snacks), fruits, and rice grains. From the night of Gai Puja, the nights become more lively.
The fourth day is also known as Govardhan Puja. An ox is also an indispensable lifeline for a farmer, so on this day, farmers worship oxen. The fourth day of Tihar is also taken as the start of a new year for the Newar community and similarly, they celebrate “Mha Puja”. The night is lively with Deusi and Bhailo going on.
The widely celebrated fifth day of Tihar is also known as Bhai tika. On this day brothers and sisters come together. Sisters apply multi-colored tikas (Saptarangi tika)on their brothers forehead. It is to ensure the long and prosperous life of their brothers. According to Hindu mythology, Yamraj, the God of Death, visited his sister, Goddess Yamuna, on this day during which she applied the auspicious tika on his forehead, garlanded him and fed him special dishes. Together, they ate sweets, talked, and enjoyed themselves to their hearts’ content.
Upon parting, Yamraj gave the Yamuna a special gift as a token of his affection and, in return, Yamuna gave him a lovely gift which she had made with her own hands. That day Yamraj announced that anyone who receives tilak from his sister will never die on that day. And so it gave birth to Bhai tika. Sisters also prepare gifts for their brothers and brothers also gift their sisters various things. After the ceremony is done, everyone present will observe a feast with delicious meals. It is a grand festival that is celebrated by all.
The bad social customs present in these festivals include the mentality of people. People think they need to make it extravagant. No, it is not that. Each and every festival are to be celebrated with the right minds and any pressure. It isn’t necessary that one must have a grand celebratory feast, it isn’t necessary to gift expensive gifts. the main essence of Tihar is to bring people together, share the love, and enjoy it to one’s content. The real joy of Tihar can only be brought together with the closeness of one’s loved ones.