Monday, July 22, 2024

The Festival of Lights

When the festival of lights arrives in Nepal, it invites a season of happiness, togetherness, and elaborate festivities. Tihar, also referred to as the “festival of lights,” is particularly dear to the people of Nepal. Beyond being just a holiday, Tihar has a deep spiritual meaning as a representation of light’s ability to defeat darkness. Today, on the second day of this colorful celebration, we honor Kukur Tihar and Laxmi Puja, two auspicious occasions. Let us explore the significance of these two occasions in this article.

Kukur Tihar: Paying Tribute to the Faithful Allies

Kukur Tihar
Dogs worshipped on the occasion of Kukur Tihar

Kukur Tihar, or the Day of the Dogs, is a special and endearing occasion honoring the relationship between people and dogs. It occurs on Tihar’s second day. Dogs are recognized on this day for their loyalty and companionship.

Communities decorate their canine companions with colorful garlands, tika (a mixture of yogurt, rice, and vermillion), and place marigold flower garlands around their necks. This ritual signifies the deep connection between humans and dogs, recognizing their roles as loyal guardians and friends.

Laxmi Puja: Honoring the Wealth Goddess

Celebrating Laxmi Puja
Celebrating Laxmi Puja

The third day of Tihar is dedicated to Laxmi Puja, which honors the Hindu goddess of prosperity and wealth, Laxmi. This year, however, the auspicious time for Laxmi Puja is found to have fallen on the second day. Families and businesses place great importance on this festival because it is believed that Goddess Laxmi brings wealth and prosperity to clean, well-lit homes.

In the evening, people use oil lamps, candles, and vibrant rangoli—artistic designs created with colored powders to decorate homes. Families come together to offer prayers to Goddess Laxmi and carry out complex rituals. Similarly, people form groups and play bhailo and deusi, a traditional Nepali cultural practice. As people pray for the blessings of prosperity in the coming year, the sound of bells, chants, and the aroma of incense fills the air.

One of the unique customs during Laxmi Puja is the worship of wealth symbols, such as coins, gold, and silver. Business owners perform special pujas in their shops and offices, seeking success and financial growth. The belief is that invoking the goddess during this auspicious time will bring abundance and good fortune.

Worshiping money symbols like coins, gold, and silver is one of the distinctive traditions observed during Laxmi Puja. In their stores and offices, business owners hold special pujas in hopes of attracting success and expanding their profits. Invoking the goddess at this auspicious time is thought to bring wealth and good fortune.

Bottom Line

During this festival of lights, it is important to remember the unity that connects our community. Times like these is when a sense of togetherness is fostered. Enjoy the festivities safely, and have a joyful Tihar!

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