5 Days Tihar Festival

Tihar is the five days celebration in Yama Panchak.

Tihar is the most celebrated festival after Dashain in Nepal. It is a five-day festival celebrated in late autumn. It has its unique ways of celebration.

Story behind Tihar
There are various stories about the celebration of Tihar. One of the famous stories behind the celebration of tihar is related to Yama the god of death and his sister Yamuna. Yama had been staying away from his sister for a long time. His sister wanted to meet him so she asked various sources to visit him and ask him to give her a visit. She sent crow, dog, and cow and at the end she went herself to see her brother. She worshipped him with tika and flowers, she put him five colored tika. Yamuna made a circle with mustard oil, Dubo Grass (Cynodon Dactylon) and put Makhmali Mala (Globe Amaranth) and asked Yamaraj not to go till the oil, Dubo Grass and the flower gets dry. Therefore, every sister worships her brother keeping him in the circle of mustard oil, putting mala (garland) of Makhmali flower and Dubo grass.

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Happy Deepawali

First day – Kag Tihar (Crow Puja)
On the first day of Tihar, crows are worshiped and fed early in the morning. People leave different food items outside for crows to eat. Crow is considered to be the messenger of death. People believe the crow gets the messages to the house in the morning. People worship it to bring good luck themselves.

Kaag Tihar

Kag Tihar (Crow Puja)

Second day – Kukur Tihar
The second day of tihar is dedicated to the most loyal friend of mankind. Kukur, the dog, Puja is done by putting a red tika on dogs forehead and flower garland around the neck offering him foods and sel roti. Generally male dogs are worshiped. It is said dog can see endangers and the death coming.

Kukur Tihar

Kukur Tihar (Dog Puja)

Third day Gai (cow) Puja and Laxmi Puja
On the third day of tihar Cows are worshipped in the morning. Cows are worshipped with sesame oil light, garland of flower and red color (abir). Wheat flour, sel roti, rice and dal are feed to cows. Disciples try to pass in-between four legs of the cow. Cow is regarded as mother in Hindu religion, as we grow up drinking her milk. Some look cow as Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity.

In the afternoon we clean our houses, paint floors with Red Mud (Rato Mato) and cow dung (gobar). Small circle are made in front of the main gate and decorated with colorful designs. Some people call it rangoli.

Small designs of footsteps are painted from the main entrance to the puja kotha. These footsteps are believed to be the footsteps of goddess Lakshmi. Candles or pala are lit all over the house making it bright and beautiful.

Gai (Cow) Tihar

Gai Tihar (Cow and Laxmi Puja)

There is a long tradition of going housed in the evening singing songs to ask for money and foods. Generally girls and kids go out to neighbors sing traditional songs called Bhailo songs. The tradition is called “Bhailo” and songs are called Bhailini songs.

The song starts with “Bhailini aain agana gunyo cholo magna, hey ausi ko din gai tiharo bhailo”. Badali kudali rakheko, laxmi pooja gareko, hey ajako dina gaitiharo bhailo…” Meaning Bahilini are at your door to ask for a gunyo cholo (Nepali traditional dress), today is no moon day and Cow pooja and Bhailo day, the house is clean and you have done Lakshmi puja, today is cow pooja day and Bhailo”

Fire crackers are blown in this day. People play cards in Laxmi puja to welcome goddess Laxmi in the night. People believe, laxmi comes to the house which is clean and bright.
In the evening the goddess of wealth Lakshmi is worshiped by lighting numerous lights and lightening works. It is believed that by worshiping Laxmi and pleasing her in return she gives us wealth. People worship wealth and food store this day.

Fourth day – Goru Tihar (Govardhan parbat ko puja) and Mah (aatma or self) Puja: On Govardhan puja Goru Tihar, three different Kinds of puja are performed. We perform Goru Puja, or worship Oxen. We also perform Govardhan Puja, which is done by making a hill of govardhan parbat using Cow dung. Cow dung has big importance in Hindu culture. In the old days it was used for everything from light at night (Methane) to polish mud floors of traditional houses. Still now no Puja is complete without cow dung in Nepali Hindu culture.

Mha Puja Nepal Sambat 1137

Mha Puja Nepal Sambat 1137

In this night Newar community perform Maha Puja also known as self-puja. It is done to purify our body. In this puja a Mandap decorated with Saipatri (marigold flower), sweets and fruits and a special Mala (garland) which is made of thread is kept. Each member of the family has one Mandap. A female member of the family offers the person sitting on the Mandap a Sagun with her hands crossed. Shagun usually consist of fried eggs, fruits, sweets, meat, fish, lentil and pastries. In the left hand with egg and fish and in the right hand Rakshi (homemade alcohol). This day is also the beginning of Nepal Sambat, Newari New year.

In the evening many Nepali children and young men go house to house singing Deusi song (Aahai bhana mera bhai ho deusi re bhana na bhana deusere). Deusi is very similar to Bhailo. Bhailo is primarily for female and Deusi for male. However, now a days there is such distinction. People go in group with males and females members to celebrate Bhailo and deusi both.

Fifth Day: Bhai Tika or Bhai Duj:
The fifth and last day of Tihar is Bhai Tika. This day sisters put “Tika of five colours” Paanch Rangi Tika – Yellow, green, red, blue and white on forehead of her brothers, to ensure long life and pray to Yamraja for her brother’s long life and prosperity. Sister offers brothers Shaguns of dry fruits especially walnut, hazelnut (Katus), fruits and sweets and in return the brothers give their sisters gifts and money. The brothers also put Pancha Rangi Tika to sister and bow her on her feet and assure her to protect her till the end of life.

Bhai Tika Tihar

Bhai Tika

On this day, Rani Pokhari Temple (located at central Kathmandu) is opened for those who do not have any brother or sister. This is the only time in a year the temple is open to general public.

Source: weallnepali

Shivaratri is celebrated as birth-night of Lord Shiva.

This day is the celebration dedicated to the Lord Shiva which falls on the Trayodashi of the month Fagun (February/March).

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Nepal is the only Hindu kingdom in the world and thus the land of Lord Shiva, Lord of all Lords, for here you can feel his presence everywhere. Even in the sacred texts of the Hindus it has been stated that Mt. Kailash in the Himalayas is the abode of Lord Shiva or Mahadeva as he is also known. Shiva the Destroyer of Evil is among the most praised and worshipped of all the gods in the Hindu religion. Hindus all over the world know him through different names and forms. The country has thousands of idols and monuments, which glorify his name, the most common one being the Shiva Linga or the phallus of Shiva that represents him. For it is the Shiva linga that Hindus regard as the symbol of creation, the beginning of everything. Shiva Ratri is the night of Lord Shiva when He himself was created by His own Divine Grace and Hindus all over the world celebrate this day with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm. Shiva Ratri literally means ‘ the night consecrated to Shiva’. This auspicious festival falls on the fourteenth day of the waning moon in the month of Falgun, (February – March in the Gregorian calendar ). The temple of Pashupatinath in Kathmandu which is considered as one of the holiest shrines of the Hindus, glorifying Lord Shiva, thus receives more than 100,000 worshippers during the festival of Shiva Ratri. These worshippers come from far and wide to pay their respects and homage to Mahadev on his sacred day.

Lord Shiva

We worship Lord Shiva with the maha mantra “Om Namaha Shivaya”.  The Mahamantra   “Om Namaha Shivaya” also known as shadakshari mantra. Each letter in this mantra has spiritual meaning. This mantra is also known as maha mantra.

Om alone is the sound of life. It is the endless vibration that flows through the universe and provides life in every living being. Chanting revitalizes the mind and body and settles the mind. Om is the beginning and it is the end. In Sanskrit, the meaning of Om is avati, or rakuati. Rakuati means one who protects or sustains. Om is the most powerful mantra.

(Om as made up of three parts.  These are and .  Our sound starts with “a”, when we speak go to “O” and end with M, so Om is the totality. It is a mantra which provides complete rest to our body and energy to our mind. )

Maha-Shivaratri

Meaning of each letters of the mantra

Main god of all the regions (loks)

One who gifts supreme and spiritual knowledge (dnyan) and destroys greatest sins

Shi: generous, calm and responsible for the beginning by Lord Shiva

va: Symbol of vehicle (Nandi) the bull and the Vasuki and Vamangi Energies (Shakti)

Y: Positive residence of highest heaven and Lord Shiva.

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Maghe Sankranti Festival in Nepal

Maghe Sankranti is the beginning of the holy month of Magh, usually the mid of January. It brings an end to the ill-omened month of Poush (mid-december) when all religious ceremonies are forbidden. Even if it is considered the coldest day of the year, it marks the coming of warmer weather and better days of health and fortune. Maghe Sankranti is the beginning of the holy month of Magh, usually the mid of January.

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It brings an end to the ill-omened month of Poush (mid-december) when all religious ceremonies are forbidden. Even if it is considered the coldest day of the year, it marks the coming of warmer weather and better days of health and fortune. This day is said to be the most significant day for holy bathing despite the weather. This ritual usually takes place at the union of sacred rivers and streams. Sankhamole, on the banks of the holy Bagmati river, below Patan, is thought to be amongst the most sacred sites for this purpose, though there has been a decline in the fulfillment of this ritual in the recent years due to water pollution in the river. But people still go in the wee hours of dawn just to sprinkle themselves with the water. They pay homage to various deities specially the temple of Red Machindranath and Agima Ta.

Chhath Pooja

Chhath is an ancient Hindu festival and only Vedic Festival dedicated to the Hindu Sun God, Surya, also known as Surya Shashti. The Chhath Puja is performed in order to thank Surya for sustaining life on earth and to request the granting of certain wishes. The Sun, considered the god of energy and of the life-force, is worshiped during the Chhath fesival to promote well-being, prosperity and progress. In Hinduism, Sun worship is believed to help cure a variety of diseases, including leprosy, and helps ensure the longevity and prosperity of family members, friends, and elders. The rituals of the festival are rigorous and are observed over a period of four days. They include holy bathing, fasting and abstaining from drinking water, standing in water for long periods of time, and offering prashad (prayer offerings) and aragh to the setting and rising sun.

Chaath-puja

Chhath is an ancient Hindu Festival

According to Yoga philosophy, the process of Chhath is divided into six stages of the Conscious Cosmic Solar Energy Infusion Technique (Conscious Photoenergization Process).
Stage 1: Fasting and the discipline of cleanliness leads to detoxification of the body and mind. This stage prepares the body and mind of the Vratti (devotee) to receive the cosmic solar energy.
Stage 2: Standing in a water body with half the body (navel deep) in the water minimizes the leak of energy and helps the prana (psychic energy) to move up the sushumna (psychic channel in the spine).
Stage 3: Cosmic Solar Energy enters the Vratti’s pineal, pituitary and hypothalamus glands (Triveni complex) through the retina and optic nerves.
Stage 4: Activation of Triveni tri-glandular complex (pineal, pituitary and hypothalamus).
Stage 5: A kind of polarization happens in the spine, which results in the Vratti’s (devotee) gross and subtle bodies getting transformed into a cosmic powerhouse. This can also lead to the awakening of the latent psychic energy popularly known as the Kundalini Shakti.
Stage 6: The body of the Vratti (devotee) becomes a channel which conducts, recycles and transmits the energy into the entire universe.

Source: WIKIPEDIA

Dashain begins today with Ghatasthapan

Dashain, the greatest and longest festival of Hindu Nepalis, officially begins today with Ghatasthapana.

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Ghatasthapana is observed by people performing puja and setting up ghata, or pot, in which they sow seeds of barley, wheat, corn and rice, at homes and temples as per the Vedic tradition.

The Nepal Panchanga Nirnayak Samiti, which publishes the lunar calendar, has said 10:45 am is the auspicious time for sowing seeds in homogeneous mixture of sand and soil in a pot made of clay. The seedlings grow into jamara which is offered along with tika on the 10th day which is observed as Vijaya Dashami, also called Tika, the main day of the Dashain festival. According to the Samiti, following the Ghatasthapana, the most suitable time for replacing national flags hoisted in government offices is 11:55 am on September 26 (Friday). Similarly, this year’s Pachali Bhairav Jatra will be celebrated on September 29 (Monday). The auspicious time for the procession of goddess Tulja Bhavani has been set at 7:25 am on October 1, and the deity will be put in rest mode at 8:43 am the same day when Fulpati is observed. On this very day, Fulpati will be brought to Dashain Ghar at Hanumandhoka.

Likewise, October 2 will mark Mahaashtami along with Kalratri puja the same night. Mahanavami and Vijaya Dashami will be celebrated on same day on October 3 this year, for which the auspicious time is 10:45 am. The Samiti has suggested all concerned to perform Mahanavami rituals before proceeding to Vijaya Dashami.

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According to popular Hindu myth, Goddess Durga had killed demon Mahishasur on Mahanavami day and Vijaya Dashami symbolises the victory of truth over evil.

Source: Thehimalayantimes