Kukur Tihar observed today

  •   2017-10-18  |  nepaltraveller.com

During Tihar, each day is devoted to a honoring a different entity and on the second day, Kukur Tihar, all dogs are recognized, honored, and worshiped.

Tihar or Dipawali is one of the great celebrations in the Hindu calendar. It is a five-day autumn festival generally known as the festival of lights. Regardless of regional and denominational differences, Dipawali is a period of gift-giving, storytelling, and recognition of the relationships humans have with all things. 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.

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

During Kukur Tihar, the role of dogs in human life and throughout history is celebrated. In the Rigveda, Samara — the mother of dogs — assists Indra, the ruler of heaven, in retrieving stolen cattle. Hindu tradition holds that a dog is the guardian and messenger of Yama, the lord and judge of the dead. A dog is also said to guard the gates of the afterlife.

Thanks to this important role, our four-legged friends receive various kinds of tributes. It begins with people adorning dogs (pets and stray dogs) with colourful garlands of flowers hung around their necks. It continues with the pundra or tika, a distinguishing mark that is placed on their forehead indicating their sacred role in the religious tradition; the bright dye is obtained by mixing a red powder known as abir with yogurt and rice.

Kukur Tihar

Photo Credit: MissDarcy.org

Of course, and to the delight of those involved, the homage to the dogs culminates with a feast of all sorts of goodies: meat, eggs, peanuts and gourmet preparations are just some of the high quality foods available to them.