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Nepal celebrates unique Hindu festival "Tihar"


16:31, November 12, 2012

A Nepalese woman worships a crow during "Tihar" festival in Kathmandu, capital of Nepal, on Nov. 12, 2012. "Tihar", the Hindu festival of lights, is celebrated for five days. Each day is dedicated to different religious figures including cow, crow, and dog, which signifies deep relation between human beings, god, and animals. (Xinhua/Sunil Pradhan)

KATHMANDU, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Nepal started celebrating Sunday the Hindu festival of lights, called "Tihar", with people decorating their homes with garlands and decorative lights and greeting each other with "Happy Tihar" or "Suva Dipawali".

The second longest festival after "Dashain" that ended a fortnight ago, "Tihar" is celebrated for five days. Each day is dedicated to different religious figures including cow, crow, and dog, which signifies deep relation between human beings, god, and animals.

In this festival of lights and flowers, human are also worshipped. A day is dedicated to siblings when sisters worship their brothers and pray for their long life.

The markets here are already overcrowded with people buying garlands, sweets, colors and lights for the festival. Street-side vendors, shopkeepers and ambulant peddlers will remain busy for the five days in Kathmandu and other cities of Nepal.

One Kathmandu resident here said that "Tihar" is his favorite festival since the city does not sleep during the five days of celebration.

"We get to sing, dance and celebrate all night and all the lighting decorations around really amaze me," he said.

According to Paran, the Hindu religious book, Yamaraj, the god of death visits his sister Yamuna and stays with her for five nights. Then, Yamuna worships her brother in these days when the god of death has put off his schedules, depicting strong bond among siblings.

Sunday, the first day of "Tihar", was dedicated to the crow, the messenger of death. In this day, crow is fed well and worshipped so that it will not bring grief and sorrows in the family.

"When a crow appears, it symbolizes sadness. The messenger of death is thus worshipped so that it won't bring misery in the family," said Surya Prasad Dhungel, secretary at Nepal Panchanga Nirnayak Samiti, the official body that declares the dates and times for Hindu festivals. The Samiti also puts out the annual Nepali calendar.

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