There are few places in the World who do festivals quite like the Asians do, you would think that the sheer number of them would mean that less emphasis would be put on each one but that simply isn’t the case. Today we’re going to take a look at the second day of the festival Tihar, a 5 day festival that takes place in Nepal, Darjeeling, Assam and Sikim and is celebrated by all Nepalese people and the Indian Gorkhas. The Tihar festival itself is, generally speaking, ‘The Festival of Lights,’ and each individual day is dedicated to a different animal or symbol. The second day of the festival is called Kukur Tihar and it is all about the worship of dogs, dogs are feed delicious food and treated like royalty for a day, for dog lovers and travelers, this is a great day on which to visit the festival.
All of the local dogs are brought together for this wonderful day of the festival, they are dressed in garlands and other colorful fixings and they are fed the finest food that is on offer. Dogs are highly revered in Hindu culture and Samara, the mother of dogs, is an assistant of Indra, the ruler of heaven. Dogs are even said to guard the gates to the afterlife and for this reason, day 2 of the festival is dedicated to all things dog.
It isn’t just dogs who have a home that get to take part in the celebrations, stray dogs are involved as well and they are treated just as highly as those with homes.
The dogs have orange garlands draped around their necks, the floral garland is called a Malia and it is given as a mark of respect and dignity. The dogs are all also given red markings on their fur called a tika, this is red dye mixed with rice and yogurt and is applied to the dog to symbolize as a devotee of the righteous path and the markings act as a blessing for those who come into contact with the dog on this sacred day.
For the people, the prayers and blessings are an important part of this holy celebration, for the dogs however, it is the food offerings that no doubt stand out as their highlight. Food offerings are placed in the homes of the dogs and put out on the street for the strays. These food offerings are far more than the dogs usual food and can range from eggs, milk, meats or even deep fried doughnut-style confectionary.
So there you have it, an incredible festival and one of the most special days of it dedicated just to the dogs, if you are a dog lover then this festival will be perfect for you, you’ll be able to watch these beautiful creatures getting the treatment that they deserve and spoiled rotten for a whole day.