Bengaluru: As the autumn leaves fall and the chill of the winter seeps in, the Nepali community celebrates Tihar, its festival of lights, which follows Dashain (Dasara) and coincides with Diwali.
Celebrating Dashain and Tihar is the Nepalis’ way of bidding farewell to the year gone by and looking forward to the one ahead. The five-day long Tihar festival begins with Kaag Tihar or worship of the crow, which is believed to ward off death in the family. The community lights five lamps in the evening as part of the rituals associated with the day. On the second day, celebrated as Kukkur Tihar, or worship of the dog, seven lamps are lit and the following day, which marks Gaai Tihar or worship of the cow, groups of women go from house to house singing, as goddess Lakshmi too is worshipped on this occasion. Following “Bhailo” as the performance is called, they are rewarded generously by people of the homes they visit.
The day that follows is celebrated as Goru Tihar or worship of the bull, which plays an important role in the autumn harvest. Sel Roti or a sweet rice doughnut is made in the evening as a special dish. This time the men go out at night to play “Deusi,” which is very similar to “Bhailo” and continue this the next night too.
The final day of Bhai Tika celebrates the bond between siblings when sisters apply “tika” on the foreheads of their brothers and pray for their well-being. A walnut is smashed open to ward off death as part of the ritual.