The Hindu festivals of Dashain and Tihar are the biggest and most important celebrations in Nepal. Dashain is celebrated for 15 days in October/November, and Tihar for 5 days in October/November. Both festivals are a time for family and friends to get together, for feasting, and for giving gifts.
On the first day of Dashain, families visit the homes of their elders to receive their blessings. Tihar is a festival of lights, and on the first day of Tihar, people worship the crow, which is considered to be the messenger of the gods.
The first nine days of Dashain are called Navaratri and are dedicated to the nine forms of Goddess Durga. The next three days are called Durga Puja when Goddess Durga is worshiped. The last three days are called Tika when brothers and sisters put Tika on each other’s forehead and exchange gifts.
Nepal is a country with many different festivals throughout the year. However, two of the biggest and most important festivals are Dashain and Tihar. Dashain is a ten-day festival that takes place in October/November. It is a time for families to get together and celebrate. Tihar is a five-day festival that takes place in October/November as well. It is a time when people worship the goddess Lakshmi and also celebrate the bond between humans and animals.
Dashain, the biggest and the most auspicious festival in Nepal, is celebrated by all Hindus in the country.
The festival is celebrated for 15 days, starting from the new moon day in the month of Aswin (September-October) and ending on the full moon day of Kartik (October-November). The first nine days of Dashain are called Navaratri and are dedicated to the nine forms of Goddess Durga. The tenth day is known as Vijaya Dashami, the day on which Goddess Durga vanquished the demon Mahishasura.
The festival is marked by many traditions and customs. On the first day of Dashain, people worship Goddess Durga and offer her animal sacrifices. The second day is reserved for the worship of Goddess Kali, and on the third day, Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped.
The fourth day is known as Fulpati when Lord Ganesh and Saraswati are worshipped. The fifth day is called Panchami, and on this day, people worship the five Goddesses – Durga, Lakshmi, Kali, Saraswati, and Ganga. The sixth day, known as Saptami, is devoted to the worship of Goddess Durga. The seventh day, called Ashtami, is the day when Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narkasura.
The eighth day, known as Navami, is devoted to the worship of Goddess Saraswati. The ninth day, known as Dashami, is the day on which Goddess Durga defeated the demon Mahishasura. The tenth day, known as Vijaya Dashami, is the day of victory of good over evil.
On this day, people worship Goddess Durga and offer her animal sacrifices. The festival ends with the festival of Tihar when people worship the cow and offer her food.
Tihar is the second biggest festival in Nepal after Dashain. It is also known as Deepawali or Dipawali, which means “row of lights”. It is a five-day festival that falls in the month of October or November. The exact date is determined by the lunar calendar.
The first day of Tihar is called Kaag Tihar. On this day, crows are worshipped as they are considered to be the messengers of Lord Yama, the god of death. Crows are fed with sweets and given vermillion marks on their forehead.
The second day is called Kukur Tihar. On this day, dogs are worshipped as they are considered to be the faithful companions of humans. They are fed with special food and their necks are decorated with garlands.
The third day is called Gai Tihar. On this day, cows are worshipped as they are considered to be the sacred animals in Hinduism. They are given special food and their horns are decorated with flowers.
The fourth day is called Goru Tihar or Govardhana Pooja. On this day, oxen are worshipped as they are considered to be the symbols of strength. They are given special food and their heads are decorated with garlands.
The fifth and final day of Tihar is called Bhai Tika. On this day, brothers and sisters exchange gifts and apply tika (vermillion mark) on each other’s forehead.
Tihar is a festival of lights, happiness, and togetherness. It is a time to celebrate the bonds of love and affection.
These festivals are much like the Christmas season in the west. Everyone gets at least 5 days of holidays, 3 for Dashain and 2 for Tihar. Dashain and Tihar are celebrated nationwide and even by those of different religions.