This Nepalese Tradition Celebrates Our Four-legged Friends On Diwali

On Kukur Tihar, dogs are garlanded and fed their favourite treats
Kukur Tihar is celebrated on the second day of the Diwali festivities
Kukur Tihar is celebrated on the second day of the Diwali festivities

There is a popular adage that says &ldquoEvery dog has its day.&rdquo In Nepal, that day is called Kukur Tihar, which coincides with chhoti Diwali, and is celebrated with much fanfare across the country.

Each year, on the second day of the five-day-long Diwali festivities, this country celebrates its four-legged companions by showering them with flowers and garlands, along with a red tika as a mark of respect and dignity. There are no differences between pets and strays here all are welcome Once the puja is over, the pups can dine on the food of their choice. 

The History Of This Unique Festival

One of the most important festivals for the Hindu community in the country, Kukur Tihar finds its origins in Hindu mythology. Bhairava (an avatar of Lord Shiva) has a dog called Shvan as his vehicle (vahana). Two dogs also guard the gates of hell for Yamraj, who is the God of Death. In the Mahabharat as well, a dog follows the Pandavas as they set out on their final journey to heaven Yudhistra is so attached to this loyal being that he refuses to enter Swarg without him. 

Kukur Tihar, which is celebrated on the day called Naraka Chaturdashi or Bhoot Chaturdashi, refers to the belief that dogs can sense impending danger, and often even death, and hence are worshipped on this specific day. And not just dogs, the subsequent days of the festival celebrate other animals such as cows, crows, oxen and more. 

In 2016, Mexico adopted this unique festival, and locals walked their four-legged companions, replete with garlands and tika, to the Revolution Square in Mexico City. In India, too, pet lovers celebrate Kukur Tihar with much gaiety, and it is the perfect time to champion animal rights and welfare. 

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