Tihar (Deepawali) Festival

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Tihar or Teohar is a five days long festival, usually held at the end of October or the beginning of November. It is a Hindu as well as Buddhist festival, comes soon after Dashain & is being celebrated in Darjeeling & Nepal. Similar to the Deepawali festival, the first day is being celebrated by worshiping Goddess Laxmi and the last day is dedicated to the brothers for their long life.

The name Tihar means the festival of lights, where many candles are lit both inside and outside the houses to make it bright at night. The five-day festival is considered to be of great importance as it shows reverence to not just the humans and the Gods, but also to the animals like crow, cow and dog, who maintain an intense relationship with the humans. The festival begins with Kag (Crow) Tihar when Crows are given good food as they are considered as the messenger of the Lord of Death, Yama. The next day is Kukur (Dog) Tihar. This day the dog is given good food as it is considered the guardian of Yama. The next day is Laxmi (Goddess of wealth) puja or Gai (Cow, symbolises Laxmi) Tihar when the Goddess of Wealth and Cow are worshipped along with money and jewellery.

People make things outside of their house, called “Rangoli” in Nepali & Hindi, to make their Home look attractive & beautiful at night. On this day it is customary to gamble. In the evening young girls go from house to house singing Bhaileni (special songs of Tihar) and they are offered money and food. Nepalis celebrate this day with lights and firecrackers in the evening.

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