Tihar the festival of light also know as Diwali or also written as Deepawali has been started. I will be talking about Tihar in Nepal and Diwali in India which are same Hindu festivals, but the way of celebration are slightly different.
How is Tihar celebrated in Nepal?
|Happy Tihar Banner For Bhai Tika
In Nepal, most of the people call Diwali as Tihar or Bhai Tika (last day of Tihar). Variations on pronunciation and writings like Deepavali, Depawoli, Dipawoli, Dipaoli, Deewali or Deepawali, Bhai Tika, Tyohar, Tyhar or Swanti, etc can be found. But officially the festival has got the name “Tihar” which is celebrated over the same five-day period concurrent with Deepavali in India. All the Hindu people of Nepal celebrate Tihar as Laxmi Puja, but I want to add something personally because being born in Brahmin family I observe Tihar as the following way in my community whereas other Hindus only observe Tihar as celebrations, and Brahmins perform rituals too.
The five days of Tihar in Nepal.
Day 1: Kaag Tihar or Crow Tihar (worship of the corvids) – crows and ravens are given offerings, considering them to be divine messengers.
Day 2: Kukur Tihar or Dog Tihar (worship of the dogs) – dogs are given food, respected for their honesty and thanked for being man’s best friend.
(If Narak Chaturdasi or Narke falls on this day – homes are decorated with colourful floor patterns called rangoli are made on or before Narak Chaturdasi. It is believed for Special bathing rituals such as a fragrant oil bath followed by minor pujas. Most of the women are seen busy preparing sweets and especially Sell Roti.
Day 3 (Morning). Gai Tihar Gai – cows are decorated and fed.
Day 3 (Evening): Laxmi Puja (worship of Laxmi, goddess of wealth. The day before the Laxmi puja, houses are cleaned and decorated and on the day of Laxmi puja, oil lamps are lit near doors and windows. Lakshmi is believed to roam the earth on Diwali night. On the evening of Diwali, people open their doors and windows to welcome Lakshmi and place diya lights on their windowsills and balcony ledges to invite her in.
Day 4: Goru Tihar (Ox Tihar) – oxen are decorated and fed.
Day 5: Bhai Tika – the final or fifth day, Bhai Tihar, brothers and sisters meet, garland each other, pray for the other’s well-being, mark the other’s forehead with Tika. The brothers give gifts to their sisters, and sisters feed their brothers. It celebrates the sister-brother loving relationship, in a spirit similar to Raksha Bandhan but with different rituals.
PS: Sometimes Gai Tihar and Goru Tihar falls on same day collectively called as Gobardhan or Govardhan Puja.
In Nepal, the family gathering is more significant during Tihar. People in the community play “Deusi and Bhailo” which is a kind of singing and dancing forming a group. People go to all the houses in the community and play songs and dance, and give blessings to the visited house, whereas the homeowner gives gifts like rice, SelRoti, fruits and money. After the festival, people donate some part of the collected money and food to the charity or welfare groups and with the rest of the money and food, they go for a picnic. People also play swing called Dore Ping made out of thick ropes and Pirke Ping or Rangate Ping made out of wood.
Among Nepali people, after Lakshmi Puja, young girls assemble in a groups four to ten members in a group on Diwali. And they sing/dance and play Bhailo in each and every village one by one. The head of the family, of each house they visit, gives them dakshani as a token of a gift. They play till Bhaitika (Bhaiduj). Similarly, boys play Deusi. Diwali is rejoicingly celebrated during these days cracking crackers or fireworks. But Tihar being a festival of peace government of Nepal sometimes banns on using Pataka, Fire Crackers and similar kinds of stuff so as to maintain peace and prevent injuries.
How is Diwali celebrated in India?
Now let’s talk a bit about Diwali celebration in India. In India, most of the people call Tihar as Diwali or Laxmi Puja (the third day of Tihar of Nepal). In India not including all the parts, many people don’t celebrate the Diwali along with the rituals but worship goddess Laxmi with minor pujas. But Brahmins living there perform most of the rituals as that of Nepal. Here are the five days of Diwali in India.
The five days of Diwali in India.
Day 1: Dhanteras – the birthday of Dhanvantari – the God of Health and Healing. On the night of Dhanteras, diyas (lamps) are ritually kept burning all through the nights in honor of Lakshmi and Dhanvantari.
Day 2: Naraka Chaturdasi – (similar to that Nepal but with regional variations).
Day 3: Lakshmi Puja – same as the day 3 of Nepal. This is considered as the main Diwali festival in India.
Day 4: Padwa, Balipratipada – Hindus exchange gifts, as it is considered a way to please Bali and the gods (regional variations) and Govardhan Puja as that of Nepal.
Day 5: Bhai Duj, Bhaiya Dooji – Similar to that of Bhai Tika in Nepal but observed in few parts only.
In Nepal, all Hindu ethnic groups celebrate this festival with their own variation. For the majority Hindus, it is the festival of lights. 95% of the people in Nepal are Hindus and they celebrate tihar ( deepawali or dewali) by worshiping the Hindu goddess Laxmi for all five days. The majority brahmins and the chhetries communities celebrate it for five days. Among the ethnic newari community in the kathmandu valley, it is popularly known as Deepawali or Swanti. The festival is celebrated from Trayodashi of Kartik Krishna to Kartik Shukla Dwitiya every year. Tihar, in general, signifies the festival of lights, where diyas are lit both inside and outside the houses to make it illuminate 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 crows, cows and dogs who maintain an intense relationship with humans. People make patterns on the floor of living rooms or courtyards using materials such as colored rice, dry flour, colored sand or flower petals outside of their house, called Rangoli which is meant to be a sacred welcoming area for the Gods and Goddesses of Hinduism.
In India, Diwali is an important festival for Hindus. The name of 5 festive days, as well as the rituals of Diwali, vary significantly among Hindus, based on the region of India. In many parts of India, the festivities start with Dhanteras (in Northern & Western part of India), followed by Naraka Chaturdasi on the second day, Deepavali on the third day, Diwali Padva dedicated to wife–husband relationship on the fourth day and festivities end with Bhau-beej dedicated to sister–brother bond on the fifth day. Dhanteras usually falls eighteen days after Dussehra.
If you have any question regarding the how Hindu celebrates Dipawali or Tihar in Nepal and India, then you can just comment below. Let me know, I love to hear from you guys. Share your Diwali or Tihar wishes with each other and enjoy your festive holiday too. And I wish you a very happy Tihar 2072 and a very holy Diwali 2015.