Nov 02 , 2021
It has been embarked upon mankind's history that the relationship among Gods and the humans have played a significant role in the dawn of celebrating festivals. One such major festival of the Hindus is Diwali - 'The festival of Lights' celebrated generally during October and November. Large number of ethnic Nepali people in Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal particularly towns of Darjeeling and Kalimong, celebrate a similar festival known as 'Tihar' that resonates with the philosophies of Diwali in a special five day ceremony.
In Darjeeling, where the tea gardens are deemed as treasures, where the world's finest tea is brewed and the people considered to be the nicest in the world; come together to rejoice and celebrate with family and friends, during this festival. The entire town is lit with lamps (diyas) in the darkest of the night, where even the tender moonlight fails to light the shadows.
The first day is dedicated to the crows (kaag) which are considered as the messengers of death God - Yama. The devotees feed the crow and assuage them so that the devotees do not get a bad message of death and grief for the upcoming year.
The second day (Kukkur Tihar) belongs to the dogs. Every dog, both pets and stray, are revered, fed and garlanded with marigold. This is significant as it signifies the loyalty, unconditional love and friendship with the humans. The dogs guard the chamber of God of death - 'Yama' and in Hindu mythology the dogs play an important part. Mexico, on the other side of the world, has studied this Nepalese festival and considers this day to love their dogs even more.
The third day is 'Gai Tihar'. Cows are considered sacred and among the most worshiped in Hindu culture. It is an important day as houses are decorated with lights and diyas to welcome the Goddess Laxmi of wealth and well being. This day, the Nepalese girls in their traditional attire sing 'bhaileni' as they visit various homes in their community. The girls bless the house through their songs and they are offered money and food by the house owner.
The fourth day is 'Govardhan puja' where an Ox is worshiped. The labour and hard work of the Ox is metaphorically compared to the hard work and the honesty of humans. This day, the boys put on their best attire and when the night falls visit homes in the neighbourhood to sing and dance to the beats of 'deusi'. In return they are given food and money to honour their positive and youthful spirit.
The fifth day is 'bhai tika'. This day is a celebration of the bond between a brother and a sister. The sister ceremonially smears the brothers forehead with ‘tika’, garlands and offers him delicious home cooked food as a sign of respect and love. In return the brother touches the feet of the sister for her blessings and showers her with gifts and money.
'Tihar' is our beautiful culture where laughter and joy floats in the air. It is the story of God's and Humans that we are living by from generations. This celebration is considered as the celebration of the light which means that light and truth always triumphs over the dark. We at Mayukh honour our culture and we wish you all a very Happy Diwali (Tihar). May your heart be guided by the light within.