October 28, 2016 07:23 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, Oct 28: 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.
The five-day festival is considered to be of great importance as it shows reverence to not just the humans and the Gods, but also to the animals like crows, cows and dogs who maintain an intense relationship with humans.
The first day of the Yamapanchak today is observed as Kaag Tihar by feeding crows, regarded as messengers in the Nepali society.
The cawing of crows symbolizes sadness and grief in Hinduism, so devotees offer crows food to avert grief and death in their homes
Tihar is also a festival where the bonding between a brother and sister is respected and recognized through Bhai Tika. On the occasion of Bhai Tika, that falls on November 1 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.
The auspicious hour for the bhai tika this tihar is at 11:52 am, according to the Nepal Calendar Determination Committee.
Decorating homes with colourful 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 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.