KATHMANDU, Nov 5: Tihar, the second largest festival of the Nepali Hindus and alike begins from today. Also known as Yampanchak, the festival is observed for five days.
Tihar is also a festival where the bonding between brothers and sisters is respected and recognized through Bhai Tika. On the occasion of Bhai Tika, that falls on November 9 this year, sisters put Tika wishing for longevity and prosperity of their brothers, while brothers, in turn, give gifts and pledge to take care of their sisters.
Decorating homes with colorful lights, flowers and oil-fed lamps as well as eating various delicacies including sweets and sel roti are part of this festival of lights. Playing of deusi bhailo and worshipping of different animals and birds are also significant aspect of this festival.
The first day of the Yamapanchak today is observed as Kaag Tihar by feeding crows, regarded as messengers in the Nepali society.
The second day is Kukur Tihar (worship of the dogs), the third Gai Tihar and Laxmi Pooja (worship of the cows in the morning and Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth in the Hindu mythology in the evening and the fourth day Goru Pooja (worship of the oxen), and Maha Pooja (worship of own soul) in the Newar community while the fifth and final day is Bhai Tika.
The government has announced a three-day public holiday starting from Laxmi Pooja to Bhai Tika i.e. from November 7 to 9.