Tihar, also known as Deepawali or Yamapanchak, is a Hindu festival celebrated in Nepal, primarily by the Nepali-speaking community, but also by Hindus across the world. It's a five-day festival that occurs in late autumn and is one of the most significant and vibrant festivals in Nepal.
Here's why Tihar is so interesting:
Melody of Lights: Similar to Diwali in India, Tihar is celebrated with lights, diyas (oil lamps), and colorful decorations, illuminating homes, streets, and public places. The festival signifies the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil.
Worship of Animals: Each day of Tihar has its own significance. On different days, cows, crows, dogs, and oxen are honored with offerings, garlands, and tika (vermilion paste) as they hold special places in Hindu mythology and daily life.
Songs and Dances: Cultural programs, songs, dances, and various traditional rituals are performed during Tihar, adding to its vibrancy and cultural richness.
Beautiful Rangolis: Colorful patterns and designs called "rangoli" are drawn on floors using colored powders or flower petals, adding to the festive atmosphere.
Religious Significance: Each day of Tihar holds its own significance. For instance, one day is dedicated to celebrating the bond between siblings, while another is devoted to honoring the goddess of wealth, Laxmi.
Family and Community Bonding: Tihar is a time for families to come together, exchange gifts, share meals, and strengthen their bonds. Communities also organize events and activities that foster unity and togetherness.
International Interest: Tihar has gained attention globally due to its unique customs, colorful celebrations, and the significance it holds in Nepali culture.
Tihar's combination of religious rituals, cultural performances, vibrant decorations, and its focus on animals and relationships makes it a fascinating and deeply enriching festival.