Kukur Tihar (Dog Worship Day)
Paavan Mathema is a dog mom to adorable Bhukku and a journalist, currently residing in Nepal.
A day to celebrate our dogs.
Every dog has its day-- and no where it is more true than in Nepal, a small south Asian country, nestled between China and India. Nepal's Hindus celebrate one of their biggest festivals Tihar (Diwali)-- the festival of lights-- just as its autumn winds begin to carry the chill from the Himalayas. The five-day festival is meant for worship of goddess Laxmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, but the second day, Kukur Tihar, is dedicated to dogs.
I adopted my dog Bhukku last year, and this was his first Kukur Tihar. The ritual is identical to how gods are worshiped-- with a tika on their forehead, flower garlands and traditional offerings. Of course, you can certainly throw in your dog's favorite treats and toys. Bhukku was a bit confused about the (extra) fuss I was making around him. But he was all happy when he saw all the treats he was getting.
The tradition rises from a belief that dogs guard the gates of afterlife and that they will guide us through. It also gives a chance to thank them for being our companions and protectors. On this day, you will see even street dogs with a tika and a garland on their neck.
For me, it is a festival close to heart. Bhukku has brought me so much happiness. Today is day we celebrate him and thank him for being the furry bundle of joy in our lives.
Here is a video of a Nepalese family celebrating Kukur Tihar in the US from our friends Zazu Talks.