Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Nepal has a day dedicated to thanking them for being our friends

Diwali, one of the great celebrations in the Hindu calendar, is a five-day autumn festival generally known as the festival of lights.
In Nepal, Diwali is called Tihar. Similar to other Diwali observances, lamps are lit at night during Tihar. 

The festival of lights celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, of knowledge over ignorance, and the dissolution of barriers that separate humans from authentic experience of the world. Nepalese Hinduism is unique in dedicating the second day of Tihar, Kukur Tihar, to the worship of dogs. Dogs are especially important to Nepal’s Hindu practitioners.

During day two of Tihar, Kukur Tihar, the role of dogs in human life and throughout history is celebrated.

During Tihar, each day is devoted to a honoring a different concept or entity: crows, dogs, cows, oxen, and fraternal relationships, respectively. On the second day, Kukur Tihar, all dogs are recognized, honored, and worshiped. 

What forms does this worship take? During Kukur Tihar, the mythological and real relationships between humans and dogs constitute the day’s major focus. A garland of flowers is draped around the neck of every dog; not only those with homes, but strays as well.

This floral necklace, called a malla, is a mark of respect and dignity. It announces the wearer as important, and symbolizes the prayers that go with the dog. On Kukur Tihar, a red mark is applied to the forehead of each dog. In Nepal, this mark is called the tika, a paste made from abir — a red dye powder — along with rice and yogurt.

The tika is applied in a single stroke on the forehead upward from the eyes. Like the malla that garlands the neck, the red tika marks the dog as both a devotee of the righteous path and as an object of devotion. The tika imbues the dog with an air of sacredness and acts as a blessing to those who encounter the dog during Kukur Tihar. 

On the first day of Diwali, Kaag Tihar, food is arrayed on the roofs of homes as offerings to crows. 

On the second day, food offerings are put out for dogs in the home, as well as for strays in the streets. These food offerings take a variety of forms. Depending on the celebrant, the dog’s treats may include milk, eggs, meat, or high-quality dog food. 

Some may even offer dogs a bit of sel roti, a deep-fried confection similar to a donut. This is a day when dogs have the best of everything. 

 This post was taken from the page -  http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/diwali-dogs-festival-of-lights-nepal-kukur-tihar

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