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Tihar: Festival of Light
Diwali, known as the festival of lights, positivity, prosperity and joy, is one of the most popular and widespread Hindu (including Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists) festivals around the world. It has prominent religious significance among the several communities and people that celebrate this festival. Diwali is known by other names such as Deepawali, Tihar, Swanti, etc. There are different kinds of rituals according to each of the names given to it by these communities that observe them. Since it falls on the same days or span of time, i.e. 5 days or so, many people believe it to be the same festival. Interestingly, each and every culture has its own origin, beliefs, stories & myths, rituals and methods for celebrating this festival of lights.
When is Diwali?
In Nepal, and even in the Indian states of Sikkim, Haryana and West Bengal, this five-day long celebration is called Tihar or Swanti (newari). Diwali festival comes about 2 weeks after another festival called Dashain. Dashain is the longest and the most propitious observance in the said Hindu religion. It is also known as Dussehra, Bijaya Dashami, Mohani Nakha: or Navaratri (nine nights & ten days ode to goddess Durga and her 9 different avatars) celebrated mostly in Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and India. Dashain is significant as a ten day (and nine nights) festival to celebrate the victory of Lord Rama over the evil Ravana as well as an ode to Goddess Durga and her nine avatars (forms).
Diwali, known as the festival of lights, positivity, prosperity and joy, is one of the most popular and widespread Hindu (including Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists) festivals around the world.
Diwali & Tihar 2020
Diwali in the UK starts its celebrations on Saturday, 14 November 2020, for a further five days. The main celebrations for Diwali 2020 take place on the first day. If you are wondering how to wish someone a Happy Diwali, the most simple way is to simply say “Happy Diwali!”. There are various other ways of wishing someone a Happy Diwali, including:
“This Diwali let us give thanks for all we hold dear. Our health, our family, our friends and to the grace of God which never ends. Happy Diwali!”
“May these fireworks burn away all our troubles, problems and sorrows, and may these light up our life with happiness, joy, and peace this wonderful Diwali.”
Diwali Festival Date
After Dashain, according to the Hindu Lunar calendar (known as Bikram Sambat), in the month of Kartik (around mid-October) comes the bright festival of Tihar. The first day of Tihar known as Kaag Puja begins with people feeding delicacies to the messenger of the god Yama, i.e. crows and ravens.
The second day of the Diwali festival is Kukur Puja, when Dogs are worshipped and celebrated in honor of their significant connections with Lord Yama, Hindu God of Death and Justice.
The third day of Tihar is Gai Tihar and Laxmi Puja which is the core of this festival of lights. Gai Tihar is observed by worshipping the sacred animal cow who is considered as the vahan (ride) of Goddess Laxmi. The rituals for Laxmi Puja are done by worshipping the goddess and praying her to bless us with prosperity and goodness, lighting diya-palcha (clay lamps), decorating the house with rangolis, flowers, candles and fairy lights. The day usually is the height of lights and brightness in houses all over the area.
The fourth day of Diwali 2020 is Govardhan Puja and Mha Puja, where people worship ox and the mighty Govardhan mountain. Newari people (the indiginous inhabitant of Kathmandu Valley) perform a unique tradition of worshipping oneself, the cultural version of self-appreciation.
The last day of Tihar is called Bhai Tika, the day for brothers and sisters. On this day brothers and sisters come together to celebrate their bonds. Sisters apply tika on the forehead of the brothers and place garland around their neck for protection against untimely death and pray for prosperous long life, this garland is made out of globe amaranth flower commonly called ‘Makhamali Phool’ in Nepali. Brothers then makes offerings to sisters as a thank you for prayers of protection, rounding off this festival of lights for Diwali 2020.
Tihar or Diwali is the festival of tradition and, hence, cultural artifacts and materials. For puja and rituals; brass, copper or silver-wares are very popular. Incenses bring a whisk of positivity and add on to the cultural aura and are an important part of these rituals. If you are looking for Diwali gift ideas: women adorn jewellery, pote (beaded necklaces) and bangles with the traditional attires. Sculptures of gods and goddesses, especially Durga and her avatars are significant for these festivities. Metal or clay diyo (lamp) are the major parts of Nepali culture that adds “lights” to this festival of lights!!
Find some of these Tihar related products on our page. We would love to bring Nepal closer to you this festive season! Happy Dashain and Tihar to our dearest Nepalese away from home! May this festival bring you all the joy and happiness! Happy Diwali and Happy Tihar from us all at Nepali Online Pasal!