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Kukur Tihar: It’s dogs’day!

First Published: 12th November, 2023 11:40 IST

Nepali Gorkhas celebrate Kukur Tihar to honour dogs - be it the pets or the strays. The festival coincides with the Diwali celebrations

Every dog has its day, and for canines in Nepali Gorkha families it is much more than just a phrase. Dogs – be it a stray or a pet, are celebrated and honoured with a tilak, garlanded, fed good food and pampered extra on this day that is celebrated as Kukur Tihar (Dog Festival) by the Nepali Gorkhas across the globe. The Nepali Gorkhas of Sikkim and entire northeast are celebrating Kukur Tihar today.

Kukur Tihar is part of the five-day Nepali Gorkha festival of Tihar that started on Saturday with Kaag (Crow) Tihar and the second day is known as Kukur ( Dog) Tihar or ‘the day of the dogs’.

Hindus believe that dog is the messenger of Yamaraj – the God of death – and by keeping the dogs happy, they will be able to appease Yamaraj himself. The festival, which shares some traditions with Diwali in Hindu faith also celebrates cows, bulls and crows.

Pet dogs and stray dogs alike are given treats starting from meat, milk, eggs to good quality dog food.

Tihar is also called Deepavali or the festival of lights. Throughout this festival, Gorkhas clean their houses and courtyards, light up lamps and pray to Laxmi – the Goddess of Wealth – urging her to visit their houses and bless them.

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