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Tihar 2008 [Dipawali]

Photographers: Ashish Parajuli, Balkrishna Lachhimasyu, Bidha Rimal, Dhilung Kirat, Keshav Basnet, Nammy Kirat, Manish Shakya, Rina Maharjan, Sangharsha Bhattarai and Shamesh Joshi
Date: 2008/10/26 – 2008/10/30
Caption: VishnuK/DhilungK
Report: Saurav Dhungana
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Coming right after the great Festival of Dashain, Tihar (तिहार /tihAr/ ) (Deepawali or Diwali) is a festival celebrated with much enthusiasm throughout the country. Most famously known as the festival of lights it is perhaps one of the most colorful festivals of all. It is celebrated from Trayodashi of Kartik Krishna to Katrik Shukla Dwitiya every year (Oct 26th to Oct 30th this year). The five day festival known as Yama Panchak (यम पञ्चक /yama panchak/) 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 the crow, cow and dog, who maintain a close relationship with the humans.  

First Day
Tihar and Crows – Here comes Tihar to teach you a lesson! Early in the morning of the first day of Tihar, family prepares a good meal. Each member of the family takes the first portion of the meal outside on a platter. The crows come down in large numbers and partake of the feast, they will call others before beginning to eat : Share, Share what you have with all! Crows ( काग /kag/ in Nepali) are considered as the messenger of the Lord of Death, Yama. There is a popular Nepali superstition of crows too: When the crows caw, sadness is coming.) On this day crows are worshiped and are kept happy. Where there are no crows, any winged animal of the heavens (bird) will enjoy the feast. So Tihar is also about appreciating animals around us.  

Second Day
Tihar and Dogs – On the second day of Tihar, Dogs (कुक्कुर /kukur/ in Nepali) are adorned with flower garland around their necks, red tika on their forehead, and are offered great meals, they are the king of the day! On this day, people pray to the Kukur to guard their homes. There are lots of Kukur running around in search of a loving home. You can find them on streets and in your backyards, but on this day, even the most unsightly Kukkur will be treated like a king – every dog has its day!.Tihar is also about breaking the boundaries that humans have created, “The Good”, “The Bad”, “The Ugly”… In Hinduism it is believed that Kukur guard’s the underworld empire just like it guards our everyday homes!. Tihar is about loving Kukurs too!

Third Day
Tihar and Cows – The 3rd day of Tihar is about worshiping the mother of the universe – cow (गाई /gAi/ in Nepali). According to Hinduism, the human infant is fed breast milk by its human mother for under three years. After weaning, the cow acts as the surrogate mother providing milk for the rest of the human life – through childhood, adult age and old age. Cows are the mothers of the universe, the sacred animal. The gaai puja is performed by giving a tika to a cow on her forehead, and a flower garland (Flower Leis) on the neck, and offering good meals. Those performing gaai puja place her manure in different parts of the home, drink a drop or two of the cow’s urine, as a part of a purification process. Also dip a blade of grass into the urine and lightly sprinkle it on each other’s body to become closer to the mother of the universe – the cow.

Tihar and Laxmi Puja – One of the most important days of the festival is Laxmi Puja (लक्ष्मी पूजा /laxmi pujA/ ). On this day the Goddess of wealth (Laxmi) is worshiped in every household in the entire country by means of Puja, decoration, candle lights, and oil lamps. In this 3rd day of the Tihar Festival, the entire nation becomes an illumination of lights. Pictures and icons of Laxmi Devi ( Goddess) are placed and worshiped in a Puja room (or a place in a living room or a dedicated room for worshiping Gods) Puja is performed using flowers, incense, oil lamps, color-powders, bell and money (both notes and coins). Laxmi puja is performed at dusk using red mud, and puja is often done by a female in the family. She uses her hand covered with red mud to make a symbolic foot-print on the floor entering the home and makes a trail leading to the Puja room. Since Laxmi likes cleanliness, on this day every house/street is made spotlessly clean.The eve of Laxmi Puja Day is made spectacular not only by lights but also by echos of a special song known as Bhailo (भाइलो /bhailo/) that’s played only on this day in the entire year! A group of girls known as Bhailini (भइलेनी /bhaileni/) get together and sing Bhailo door to door, giving blessings to the family in return for money or homemade treats.  

Fourth Day
Tihar and New Year- On the fourth day of Tihar, there are three different known pujas. Most perform Goru Puja, or Worship of Oxen. People who follow Krishna perform Gobardhan Puja (गोभर्धन पूजा /govardAn pujA/) , worshiping Cowdung symbolizing the Gobardhan Parbat (गोभर्धन पर्वत /govarDan parbat/). The Newar community on the night of this day perform Mah Puja (म्हः पूजा /mHa pujA/) , or Worship of Self. Because this period is also the beginning of Nepal Sambat (नेपाल संवत /NepAl Sambat/), or the new year of Nepalese especially commemorated by Newars, it ensures prosperity for the new year.

Tihar and Songs : Dheusi Songs – Male members sing what is called Dheusi or Dheusiray ( द्यौसीरे /dHeuSire/). You can write just about any Dheusi song as long as each line ends with the word `Dheusi !’ or `Dheosiray !’. A group of males get together, carry what-ever musical instruments they have or can play, and sing Dheusi door to door blessing the home and family in return for money and/or refreshments.  

Fifth Day
Tihar and Tika – On the final day also known as Bhai Tika (भाइ टिका /bhAi tikA/ ) Day, sisters give tika ( टिका /tika/ – a colored powder placed on once’s forehead) consisting seven colours, and maala ( माला /mALA/ – a necklace of flowers or also known as flower leis, similar to that’s used elsewhere like in Hawaii!) to brothers along with wishes for long life and prosperity. To sisters, Tihar is also the time to re-call their continued love for their brothers. After tika sisters give their brothers a variety of foods, sweets, fruits and clothes to please them and brothers in return give dakshinas (दक्षिणा – /dakshinA/ money given as blessing).

This great festival then concludes after these five days of merrymaking and celebration. What is remarkable is each day carries it’s own significance and truly encompasses every aspect of our culture and religion.  

 EverestUncensored would like to thank all the photographers for their valuable contribution to this featured series.

Season of Celebration
01 Season of Celebration
In respect to the oil lamp
02 In respect to the oil lamp
Dog of the Day
03 Dog of the Day
Wishing a Happy New Year  1129 Nepal Sambat
04 Wishing a Happy New Year 1129 Nepal Sambat
Fishing goddess of wealth
05 Fishing goddess of wealth
Glowing Bashantapur
06 Glowing Bashantapur
Street art celebration
07 Street art celebration
Light me up
08 Light me up
09 Mandala
Thanka shops at Basantapur
10 Thanka shops at Basantapur
Swayambhu turned golden on the eve of Laxmi Puja
11 Swayambhu turned golden on the eve of Laxmi Puja
Light rally in the valley
12 Light rally in the valley
The Big BANG...
13 The Big BANG…
and here borns the Pyrotechnical Milky way
14 and here borns the Pyrotechnical Milky way
The firing Canons...
15 The firing Canons…
...and the victim
16 …and the victim
17 Baneshwor
Brightening Bajra
18 Brightening Bajra
Cracking Kalopul
19 Cracking Kalopul
Once in a year here you go dear
20 Once in a year here you go dear
Dhime and Dhunya
21 Dhime and Dhunya
Standing Tall
22 Standing Tall
23 Lalupate
Waiting to be plucked
23 Waiting to be plucked
Newa People on the rally
24 Newa People on the rally
The Symphony of Tihar
25 The Symphony of Tihar
Made for kids
26 Made for kids
Guess what is he buying
27 Guess what is he buying
Nutty buddies
28 Nutty buddies
Please choose your favorite color
28 Please choose your favorite color
Busy Bashantapur
29 Busy Bashantapur
Twin Pagoda in romantic mode
30 Twin Pagoda in romantic mode
Nepal Sambat flying high
31 Nepal Sambat flying high
Festive Harvest
32 Festive Harvest
35 Dhime
Mah Puja - Ready to celebrate life
36 Mah Puja – Ready to celebrate life
Shankhadhar Sakkhwa here we come
37 Shankhadhar Sakkhwa here we come
1129 NS
38 1129 NS
Tihar in perspective
39 Tihar in perspective
Zoom in
40 Zoom in
Flutist Fairies
41 Flutist Fairies
Happy New Year 1129
42 Happy New Year 1129
Tihar Celebration
43 Tihar Celebration
Let there be light
44 Let there be light
Smoke in the light
45 Smoke in the light
Little Bipasha
46 Little Bipasha
Shawan ko bhel bani timi aauna...
47 Shawan ko bhel bani timi aauna…
Fireworks do not listen to the Home Minister
48 Fireworks do not listen to the Home Minister
The handmade flames
49 The handmade flames
The handmade flames 2
50 The handmade flames 2
The rally continues
51 The rally continues
The shooters through a wide angle
52 The shooters through a wide angle