Importance of Tihar – the festival of lights

It is Tihar festival time in Nepal. If you want to read more about Tihar and the details about the five days of the festival, here is the Introduction to Tihar.

In India, Diwali is a huge festival. It is the biggest festival in terms of celebration and gift exchanging. In Nepal, the equivalent is Dashain. But, Diwali is also celebrated as Laxmi Puja in Nepal. It is of similar importance, with a little bit of shadow of Bhai Tika – the biggest day of Tihar. Some believe, the Diwali tradition has creeped into Nepal as Laxmi Puja. In some aspect it is true because of the encroachment of Indian TV in Nepal. Same holds true for Halloween, Christmas and Valentine Day – the Western festivals. Firework cracking and Rangoli are two most important things that have arrived from India. Rangoli has adapted itself to invite the Laxmi goddess in the house. It is also a form of art.

Deusi Bhailo – We still go around chanting “Bhailini aain aangana …” and “Deusi re ..” , a truly Nepali culture. Westerners do the same in Halloween.

Gambling – People play cards, kauda and other gambling games in Tihar. A moderate game with a goal to have harmless fun doesn’t make a person a gambler.

Sweets – Selroti is a sweetest sweet of Tihar – a truly Nepali delicacy. Manufactured sweets is also a big market – an imported culture from India.

Festival of Lights – That is what Indian call Diwali. We at Nepal do the same. In the past oil candles were used to light our homes. These days, electricity has made it easy. Thanks to Kulman Ghishing, tor the last few years, the Nepal government has managed to stop blackouts during the festival.

To summarize Tihar festival is the festival to:

– honour birds
– appreciate other animals
– blessings of Goddess Lakshmi for more wealth and prosperity
– blessings of sisters to brothers and vice versa
– have fun

Photo Credit: Nepali Times

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