Tihar Celebration 2020- Brothers & Sisters Festival in Nepal

Tihar Celebration 2020- Brothers & Sisters Festival in Nepal

Tihar Celebration During Pandemic 2020

Tihar Celebration- Brothers and Sisters festival, is the second most celebrated festival in Nepal after Dashain. It is the five-day festival of lights that honors Yama, the God of Death, meanwhile the worship of Laxmi, the Goddess of Wealth dominates the festivities.
In the year 2020/ 2077 the celebration happened in the month of November (28th Kartik to 1st Mangsir). This year, according to the Nepali patro/ calendar, Kukur Tihar and Laxmi Puja were celebrated on the same day on 14th November (29th Kartik) i.e Kukur tihar celebration in the morning and laxmi puja was done in the evening.

There are various stories about the celebration of Tihar. One of the famous stories behind the celebration of tihar is related to Yama, the god of death and his sister Yamuna. Yama had been staying away from his sister for a long time. His sister wanted to meet him so she asked various sources to visit him and ask him to give her a visit. She sent crow, dog, and cow and at the end she went herself to see her brother. She worshipped him with tika and flowers, she put him five colored tika. Yamuna made a circle with mustard oil, Dubo Grass (Cynodon Dactylon) and put Makhmali Mala (Globe Amaranth) and asked Yamaraj not to go till the oil, Dubo Grass and the flower gets dry. Therefore, every sister worships her brother keeping him in the circle of mustard oil, putting mala (garland) of Makhmali flower and Dubo grass.  Tihar is the five days celebration in Yama Panchak.

Tihar Celebration

There are various stories about the celebration of Tihar. One of the famous stories behind the celebration of tihar is related to Yama, the god of death and his sister Yamuna. Yama had been staying away from his sister for a long time. His sister wanted to meet him so she asked various sources to visit him and ask him to give her a visit. She sent crow, dog, and cow and at the end she went herself to see her brother. She worshipped him with tika and flowers, she put him five colored tika. Yamuna made a circle with mustard oil, Dubo Grass (Cynodon Dactylon) and put Makhmali Mala (Globe Amaranth) and asked Yamaraj not to go till the oil, Dubo Grass and the flower gets dry. Therefore, every sister worships her brother keeping him in the circle of mustard oil, putting mala (garland) of Makhmali flower and Dubo grass. Tihar is the five days celebration in Yama Panchak.

About the five special days of Tihar Celebration

First day – Kaag Tihar (Crow Puja)

 

Tihar Celebration 2020- Brothers & Sisters Festival in Nepal
Kaag Tihar

On the first day of Tihar, crows are worshiped and fed early in the morning. People leave different food items outside for crows to eat. Crow is considered to be the messenger of death. People believe the crow gets the messages to the house in the morning. People worship it to bring good luck themselves.

Second day – Kukur Tihar Celebration (Dog Puja)

 

Tihar Celebration 2020- Brothers & Sisters Festival in Nepal
Kukur Tihar
The second day of tihar is dedicated to the most loyal friend of mankind. Kukur, the dog, Puja  is done by putting a red tika on dog’s forehead and flower garland around the neck offering him foods and sel roti. Generally male dogs are worshiped. It is said dog can see endangers and the death coming.

Third day – Gaai (cow) Tihar/ Laxmi Puja

Tihar Celebration 2020- Brothers & Sisters Festival in Nepal
Gaai Tihar/ Laxmi Puja

Tihar Celebration

On the third day of tihar cows are worshipped in the morning. Cows are worshipped with sesame oil light, garland of flower and red color (abir). Wheat flour, sel roti, rice and dal are feed to cows.  Disciples try to pass in-between four legs of the cow. Cow is regarded as mother in Hindu religion, as we grow up drinking her milk. So we look cow as Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity.
In the afternoon we clean our houses, paint floors with Red Mud (Rato Mato) and cow dung (gobar). We make rangoli in front of the main gate and decorated with colorful designs. Small designs of footsteps are painted from the main entrance to the puja kotha. These footsteps are believed to be the footsteps of goddess Lakshmi entering inside the house. Candles or pala are lit all over the house making it bright and beautiful. In the evening the goddess of wealth Lakshmi is worshiped by lighting numerous lights and lightening works. It is believed that by worshiping Laxmi and pleasing her in return she gives us wealth. People worship wealth and food store this day. Fire crackers are blown on this day.  People play cards in Laxmi puja to welcome goddess Laxmi in the night. People believe, laxmi comes to the house which is clean and bright.
After puja, we begin with going to houses in a group in our neighbors and play bhaili. People go in group with males and females members to celebrate Bhailo. The tradition is called “Bhailo” and songs are called Bhailini songs. The traditional song that starts goes like this “Aahai bhana mera bhai ho..bhaili..ye ramrari bhana..bhaili.” The famous song in everyone’s house is bhailini aain agana gunyo cholo magna, hey ausi ko din gai tiharo bhailo”. Badali kudali rakheko, laxmi pooja gareko, hey ajako dina gaitiharo bhailo…” Meaning Bahilini are at your door to ask for a gunyo cholo (Nepali traditional dress), today is no moon day and Cow pooja and Bhailo day, the house is clean and you have done Lakshmi puja, today is cow pooja day and Bhailo.” The bhaili team give blessings to the family members in their bhaili song. They sing, dance and have fun. At the end, a house owner gives food and money to the group.

Fourth day – Goru Tihar (Govardhan parbat ko puja) and Mah (aatma or self) Puja

 

Tihar Celebration 2020- Brothers & Sisters Festival in Nepal
Goru Tihar
On Govardhan puja Goru Tihar, three different Kinds of puja are performed. We perform Goru Puja, or worship Oxen. We also perform Govardhan Puja, which is done by making a hill of govardhan parbat using Cow dung. Cow dung has big importance in Hindu culture. In the old days it was used for everything from light at night (Methane) to polish mud floors of traditional houses. Still now no Puja is complete without cow dung in Nepali Hindu culture.  This is another day of playing bhaili. In the evening the group again to the remaining houses for playing bhaili and earn more money.

Fifth Day of Tihar Celebration: Bhaai Tika ( Brothers & Sisters Day)

Tihar Celebration 2020- Brothers & Sisters Festival in Nepal
Bhaai Tika
The fifth and last day of Tihar Celebration is Bhaai Tika. This day sisters put “Tika of five colours” Paanch Rangi Tika- Yellow, green, red, blue and white on forehead of her brothers, to ensure long life and pray to Yamraja for her brother’s long life and prosperity. Sister offers brothers Shaguns of dry fruits especially walnut, hazelnut (Katus), fruits and sweets and in return the brothers give their sisters gifts and money. The brothers also put Pancha Rangi Tika to sister and bow her on her feet and assure her to protect her till the end of life. On this day, we play deusire instead of bhaili. Deusi is very similar to Bhailo. People go in group with males and females members to celebrate deusi. The deusi song goes like this: Aahai bhana mera bhai ho deusi re..aahai ramrari bhana….deusere…ramrari )
Tihar Celebration 2020- Brothers & Sisters Festival in Nepal
My Brothers_Tihar Celebration

Tihar Celebration

This is pretty much it about how Tihar is celebrated in Nepal. This year, in 2020 we celebrated it quite differently due to COVID-19. During the pandemic keeping in mind that we should maintain social distancing and avoid ourselves and others from getting infected, playing deusi and bhailo wasn’t safe. Almost all Nepali tried not to go to neighbors and put anyone at risk. So we celebrated Tihar with our brothers and sisters in our own home. We didn’t play deusi- bhailo. We cooked all kinds of special food for Tihar like fini roti, selroti, khurma roti, sweets and all other special meals.

Tihar Celebration 2020- Brothers & Sisters Festival in Nepal
Tihar Celebration 2020- Brothers & Sisters Festival in Nepal
We didn’t let COVID stop any of us from celebrating our special brothers and sisters festival but we had a good time together, shared the happiness among the family members, sang, danced, ate and gave that feeling of being safe to each other during this pandemic year 2020.
Tihar Celebration 2020- Brothers & Sisters Festival in Nepal
Special Recipes_Tihar Celebration 2020

I hope everyone had a peaceful celebration and enjoyed being home for Tihar 2020 with your brothers and sisters like I did!!!

Tihar Celebration 2020- Brothers & Sisters Festival in Nepal
Tihar Celebration 2020- Photo Shoot with my Brothers

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Written by : Deepa Bohara,  2020 AD

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