Importance of Dog Festival of Nepal | 7 Major Reasons Why Is Kukur Tihar Celebrated on Second Day of Tihar

Why is kukur tihar celebrated : The second day of Tihar festival is reserved for the worship of Kukur (Dog). Pet dogs and stray dogs are well fed and worshipped, putting garland across their necks and tika in the forehead on this day as a symbol of honoring them for being loyal to the Humankind for eternity. Dog’s companionship, loyalty, and service to humans are honored on this day. 

Tihar is the Nepalese second greatest festival

Soon after celebrating the greatest festival Dashain of Nepalese comes the festival of lights, Tihar. Also known as Deepawali, Swanti, and Yamapanchak, Tihar is a 5 day long festival celebrated by Hindus of Nepal and India and the diaspora scattered all around the world. Festival of Lights, Tihar is associated with the worship of 4 animals related to the God of Death, Yama, and the final day is when sisters worship brothers for long life and prosperity. 

Why and when is Tihar Festival celebrated?

Tihar is celebrated in Nepal in October or November and is celebrated for five consecutive days. During these 5 days, Nepalese honor crow, bulls, dogs, and Goddess Laxmi. During the entire festival, lanterns and candles are lit up to welcome Goddess Laxmi, and hence it is also called the festival of lights. In Nepal, Tihar is also equally auspiciously celebrated in India, where it is popularly known as Deepawali. 

In Nepal, during the festival, four different animals, namely Kaag (Crow), Kukur (Dog), Gai (Cow), and Govardhan (Oxes), are worshipped each day. 

The first day of the festival is called Kaag Tihar. On this day, the crow is honored. It is believed that Crow is the messenger of God of Death as per Hindu mythology, and worship of Crow is conducted this day to wand evil or death off from the family in the coming year. Crow is offered different types of grains, seeds, and sweets. 

The second day of the festival is reserved for the worship of Kukur (Dog). Pet dogs and stray dogs are well fed and worshipped, putting garland across their necks and tika in the forehead on this day as a symbol of honoring them for being loyal to the Humankind for eternity. Dog’s companionship, loyalty, and service to humans are honored on this day. 

Similarly, on the 3rd day, Cow and Goddess of wealth, Goddess Laxmi, is revered. According to Hindu mythology, cows are sacred, and to this day, all cows are worshipped. The same day, in the evening, every household Laxmi puja is conducted.  

4th day of the festival is the day to respect the OX. As OX is provided work for an agriculture dependent country like Nepal, on the 4th day of Tihar, OX is adored for their help in agriculture and thereby living of many Nepalese. Along with that, amongst the Newars, Tihar’s 4th day is very popular as a day to “Self Worship.” Also named Mha Puja, Newars have a unique ritual of the adoring soul within this day. 

Finally, we come to the last day of the festival, which is probably the most important day, Bhai Tika. This day is reflected significant as this day marks the lovely bond’s festivities between the brothers and sisters. On this day, brothers and sisters worship each other for long life and prosperity. 

7 Reasons Why Is Kukur Tihar Celebrated : Importance of Kukur Tihar 

Kukur Tihar or popularly known as Dog Festival, is a festival that celebrates the undying loyalty and services of the Dogs to all Human Kind. All year long, Dogs provide their undying and immense love to their keepers, and on the 2nd day of the Tihar festival, all Nepalese worship dogs, be it pet dogs or stray dogs, for their yearlong service.

As rightly said, Dogs are the best friends of Humans and this day celebrates the special bond humans have with dogs. This is a unique festival in itself that is admired by the world. Moreover, few nations like Mexico have started to worship dogs on this day. Hopefully, other countries will have a similar festival intended to admire and honor the Dogs for being human’s best companion and loyal friend. 

While there are many important Kukur Tihar, below are a few that can be considered the most important ones. 

1. Kukur Tihar celebrates Dogs’ loyalty and service to Humankind:

Kukur Tihar, alternatively known as a dog festival, is a perfect occasion to admire the “Keeper of the House” and “Human’s loyal friend,” Dogs, for their immense love and loyalty to the Humankind. For centuries, Dogs have served humans, becoming the best friend and keeper of the house, and on the second day of the Tihar festival, all Nepalese scattered around the world worship dogs and adored dogs for their faithfulness. Nepalese celebrate this day with adoration to their dogs and all dogs in general for their services and, most importantly, their loyalty towards the keepers. 

2. Historical and mythological importance: 

Dogs are very important animals as per Hindu Mythology and have a special designation as per Hinduism. They are revered not just because of their companionship but are also considered as the Yama’s messenger and one of the incarnations of God Bhairava. The bond between the dog and the man is well depicted in the Mahabharata as well.

In Mahabharata’s epic tale, while the 5 Pandavas ascend to Svarga, a dog follows the Pandavas. Among all Pandavas, the eldest one, Yudhishira, gets followed by the dog loyally, and at the gate of Svarga, he refused to enter without the dog that followed him all the way.

Thus, this ancient tale purely depicts the loyalty of Dogs towards humans. Celebrating this festival is undoubtedly revelations to the dogs for their faithfulness, while this festival is important as per Hindu Mythology. Celebrating this festival every year is the way of keeping the unique tradition alive for centuries to come. 

3. A unique tradition in itself: 

Kukur Tihar is one of the unique festivals celebrated in Nepal. Nowhere else dogs are honored on a particular day, though Dogs are pet to many households around the world. This unique tradition of Nepal has gone global. Due to widespread popularity over the internet, an animal rights group from Mexico has started similar celebrations.

Since 2016, the Mexican animal rights group and general people have been celebrating this festival. This shows how important this festival is in terms of getting the world to know the rich culture and tradition of small south Asian countries like Nepal. 

4. A practice that is an example to the world: 

Dogs have been the best friend to Humankind for centuries. Petting dogs is not only limited to Nepal. Dogs are pets to millions of households around the world and are adored by Billions. However, few countries are cruel to Dogs. Guangxi, Chinese province, holds a “Dog Festival” annually. This festival is held not to honor dogs; instead, this is the festival where visitors eat different Dogs types.

Reportedly, over 10 days, thousands of dogs are consumed. Many animal rights activists are against such rituals, and in such condition, the Kukur Tihar that we conduct in Nepal every year is a perfect example to the world. 

5. Ignites human’s emotional attachment with the Dogs: 

Dogs are the human’s best companion. There are hardly any dog owners who hate their dogs. In this regard, the Dog Festival or Kukur Tihar that is celebrated in Nepal is one that ignites human’s emotional attachment with the dogs.

Dogs have no requirement for fancy cars, clothes. They want to get loved. Dogs give their loyalty and undying companionship to those who love them and pet them. This is one of the most significant importance of Kukur Tihar. Celebrating this festival helps you connect with your dogs even more. 

6. A tradition that says “No Animal Cruelty”: 

Various animal rights activists, as well as governmental and non-governmental organizations, are working to stop any form of animal cruelty. In this regard, the Tihar festival of Nepal, especially Kukur Tihar, is a perfect example to remind the world to act intending animal cruelty.

No animals are to be harmed whatsoever, and this tradition of Nepalese, which has become worldwide, speaks volumes about the rich Nepalese culture and respect bestowed upon the animals. This is commendable and needs to bepracticed for years to come.

7. Elaborative rituals: 

Kukur Tihar is performed by Nepalese following the elaborative traditional rituals. On this day, the dogs are bathed in the early morning and worshiped tika over their forehead and garland around the neck. Dogs are then given the right foods and treats. Many people chant the Mantra during the ritual in honor of the dogs and their services to Humankind. The elaborative rituals make this festival even more beautiful and attractive. 

In conclusion, Kukur Tihar, the second day of the Tihar festival, is considered one of the Tihar festival’s most important days. It is the day that is set specially for honoring dogs for their immense love for human kinds.

For centuries, Dogs have been the perfect companion to the Humans, and on this day, Nepalese show their gratitude and love towards their furry best friend for their love and companionship. In Nepal, few other countries like Mexico have a similar practice to honor their dogs on this day. 

I hope you will have a beautiful Kukur Tihar with your furry best friend. Happy Tihar!

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