Festival of lights including crow, oxen, dogs, cows & self prayer in Nepal begins

The 5-day long annual festival which is also called as Yamapanchak festival has begun from today . The festival  involves a unique tradition that brings together the key aspects of nature- humans, animals and colors. It holds a special place for human-animal bonding.

A crow conference was organized Monday in the capital to mark the occasion of Kaag Tihar, the first of the five days of Yamapanchak.

The 15th Crow conference was held by gathering around 300 crows in Ratna Park, Kathmandu Monday morning.

The Music Association of Nepal organized the event where Ramesh Dulal of Ilam gathered flock of crows by emulating their sounds.

Dulal has been organizing the crow conference on the occasion of Tihar for the past 14 years. The crow is worshiped today to avert grief.

As part of the Tihar tradition, crow, dog, cow and ox are worshiped across the country treating them as the true manifestation of various gods.

Day 1: Kag Tihar, The Day of Crows

Tihar festival begins with the worshiping of crow, which is considered as the messenger of death in Hindu tradition.

On the day, Nepali Hindus offer different food items to crows early in the morning and pray for luck, as they believe crows bring in messages to houses at the start of the dawn.

Day 2: Kukur Tihar, The Day of Dogs

The second day of the festival is dedicated to dogs and is celebrated as Kukur (dog) Tihar.

On the Kukur Tihar day, the entire Nepali Hindu community worships dogs owing to their religious significance as the guard of Lord Yama, the god of death. Dogs are offered special prayers with tika, garland and delicious foods.

This year, Kukur Tihar is celebrated on October 18, 2017 on the Narak Chaturdashi day.

Day 3: Gai Tihar, The Day of Cows

The third day of Tihar is called Gai Tihar and marks the worshipping of holy cows, which hold great significance in the Hindu tradition. On the day, cows and goddess Lakshmi are revered with great worship.

This year, Gai Tihar is celebrated on October 19, 2017 on the Aaunsi day.

Day 4: Goru Puja, The Day of Oxen

The fourth day of Tihar witnesses the worshipping of oxen and is celebrated as Goru Puja.

Apart from Goru Puja, this auspicious day also marks three different pujas that include Govardhan Puja and Mha Puja.

Govardhan puja marks the worshipping of Govardhan Parbat (meaning hill in Nepali), during which, a Govardhan Parbat, made of cow dung, is worshipped.

After worshipping three different animals on the previous three days, the fourth concluding day justifies the concept of worship with the worshiping of soul, which is common in all beings. Newari Community celebrates the day as Mha Puja, which means worshipping of one’s own soul.

This year, Goru Puja and Mha Puja falls on October 20, 2017 on the Pratipada day. The day also coincides with the beginning of Nepal Sambat festival, the Newari New Year.

Day 5: Bhai Tika or Bhai Duj, the Day of Colors

This is the fifth and the concluding day of the 5-day long Tihar festival.

On this day, sisters apply Paanch Rangi Tika, a combination of five different colors including yellow, green, red, blue and white, to their brothers wishing them a long life and prosperity.

While sisters offer Shaguns (wishing good luck) of dry fruits such as hazelnut (Katus), walnuts, sweets and fruits, brothers in return give them gifts and money along with blessings of protection assurance for the rest of their life.

Self prayer “Mha Puja”

Maha Puja is an annual ritual performed by the Newari people of Nepal to celebrate one’s essence and to cleanse and empower the soul. The day is also celebrated as Nepal Sambat or the Newari New Year.

The celebrations invoke prosperity and longevity for the participant. Mha Puja and Nepal Sambat are also celebrated abroad where Nepali people have settled.

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