Kathmandu, October 28, 2016:Â Tihar, the five-day-long festival of lights, begins today. The crow is worshiped on the first day – also called Kag puja â€“ of Tihar, which is alternatively known as Yama Panchak.
The festival is celebrated for five days by worshipping birds and animals including crow, dog, cow and ox, on the first, second, third and fourth day respectively, while the Goddess of Prosperity, Laxmi is also worshiped on the third day. On the fifth day, Bhai Tika, sisters put tika on the brothersâ€™ forehead.
On the day of Kag Tihar, people worship the crow as a messenger of god who brings bad message. On this day, people offer delicious food to the crow.
Anthropologist Dr. Sunil Sitaula said that if food is offered to the crow on the day of Kag Tihar, people believe they will get more money.
On the second day, people worship the dog, which is called Kukur Tihar. They offer good food and decorate the dog with garlands as part of worshipping the dog seen as the care taker of the house.
The third day of the festival is celebrated by worshipping Goddess Laxmi and the cow. The day is very important for each household because appeasing Goddess Laxmi is said to bring prosperity.
On that day, people decorate their houses as well as shops with lights, flowers, and light oil-fed lamps at each corner of the house to welcome the goddess in the evening.
It is believed that Goddess Laxmi visits the homes during the night so people light oil-fed lamps and try to keep vigil the whole night.
In the evening, girls and boys in groups visit homes to play Bhailo, singing songs and playing musical instruments. Households give them money and food in return.
On this day, cows are also worshipped by offering food and flowers.
The fourth day of the festival is celebrated as Govardhan Puja, and the bull is worshipped on this day. The Newar community celebrates the day as Mha Puja, which is a ritual that worships the self. The New Nepal Sambat also starts from this day.
The final day of Yama Panchak is celebrated as Bhai Tika. The day brings brothers and sisters together.
On the day, sisters put seven colours called Sapatrirangi Tika on the brotherâ€™s forehead, put garlands of Makhamali on the neck and offer fruits, sweets and nuts to their brothers.
Sisters wish for the longevity and success of their brotherâ€™s life.
Brothers also offer gifts to their sisters, including money, clothes and other things, and the day is believed to strengthen the bond between brothers and sisters.
Photo courtesy: ekantipur.com