Dogs Are Celebrated in Nepal’s Kukur Tahir Festival

Dogs are decorated with garlands and tika (marks on the forehead), which makes each of them sacred and empowers them to bless all those they encounter on this day.

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There are five days in the Hindu festival of lights called Diwali, or Tihar, as it is known by Nepalese locals.  Each day celebrates a different animal, and November 10th, the second day of the festival, honors dogs.  They are decorated and given a feast fit for royalty – even street dogs!

Diwali is celebrated with bonfires, candles, fairy lights, diyas (traditional earthen lamps), and rangolis (traditional floor art).  Friends and families gather together, sharing their joy, food, and gifts with one another.

The first day, Kaag Tihar (Kwah Pujā), is dedicated to corvids – crows and ravens.  Their cawing represents grief and sadness.  Sweets are left on rooftops for them to fend off this despair.  On the third day, Gai Tihar, cows are venerated with garlands and the best grass, because they signify wealth and prosperity.  Houses are cleaned and adorned with marigolds and chrysanthemums.  There are other celebrations on the fourth and fifth days for oxen and for sisters to thank their brothers for the protection they provide.

But the second day, Kukur Tihar (Khichā Pujā) is set aside for dogs, who are believed to be messengers of the Lord Yamaraj, the god of death. Yamaraj is said to have two dogs – Shyam and Sadal – who guard the entrance to hell. There is a very special relationship between people and dogs, as they were one of the first domesticated animals, so they are decorated with garlands and tika (marks on the forehead), which makes each of them sacred and empowers them to bless all those they encounter on this day.  They are treated to heaps of scrumptious food.  Pets and street dogs alike are blessed and pampered throughout the day.

See how these dogs celebrate the day!

 

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58 thoughts on “Dogs Are Celebrated in Nepal’s Kukur Tahir Festival

  1. Same country that slaughters thousands of calves and buffaloes in the name of religion.
    Man is by all means a strange creature

  2. In Thailand and Korea amongst several other places the people ( NOT all ) SKIN DOGS ALIVE. Then boil the domestic dogs while ALIVE ..to cook for human consumption !
    I WISH THIS WOULD STOP

  3. And on the 11th of November the 3rd day of another ridiculous festival they’ll die in agony n be eaten I suppose!!!!

  4. Well , when cooking at home or dining out , the VEAL dishes had been little calves when killed. That’s where all veal comes from ..baby cows.
    Lamb Chops , Leg of Lamb etc.. was once a cute innocent little lamb.
    I’ve been conditioned to eat Beef Pork Poultry Fish…… No More.
    Anything that once had a face , I cannot eat. Prawns ?
    Eating dogs and cats probably disgusts me more so since they’ve lived indoors with me as family for decades. They’re intelligent loving animals. Dogs do love people back unconditionally.
    Who is to say other animals aren’t the same ? I’ve heard that Turkeys are exceptionally intelligent. And here we are getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving. Maybe serve a 25 lb pumpkin stuffed with sweet potatoes and marshmallows.
    As for farm animals , pigs cows chickens etc they too are sweet critters , they have such cute personalities , too.
    Don’t even want to get started on what happens to horses , which are popular on some European menus. Looks like I’m skewed …

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