Tag Archives: Tihar

Chhori’s first Tihar

Tihar, the second biggest festival for Hindus after Dashain, was from 28th Oct to 1st Nov this year. Please click here to know more about the festival.

This year was Chhori’s first Tihar celebration so I wanted to make sure she had a great memory of the celebration.

bhai-tika-12 bhai-tika-7

Tihar is celebrated for five days and here are some photos from our celebration this year.

  • Kaag / Kag (crow) Puja

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  • Kukur (dog) Puja

kukur-puja-2 kukur-puja-1

  • Laxmi Puja and Gai (cow) Puja

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  • Goru Puja,Gobhardan Puja , Mha Puja and Nepal Sambat

As my parents are here this year, it was great to have a whole family celebrating Mha puja.

mha-puja-3 mha-puja-4 mha-puja-1 mha-puja-2

  • Bhai Tika

Chhori does Bhai tika to my nephew. It was so cute to see these little ones performing the ritual.

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Hope everyone celebrating had great Tihar too.

Take care everyone,

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

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Happy Tihar!!!

Today we start the second biggest festival, after Dashain, for Hindu from Nepal.

Tihar

This festival is celebrated in five days starting from the thirteenth day of the waning moon in October.

 The five days are called

Mha Puja (10)

Hope all of you are enjoying with lots of yummy food like Selroti, Lal mohan, Besan ko ladoo and other sweets.

Sel roti (4)

With gleam of Diyos
And the Echo of the Chants
May Happiness and Contentment Fill Your life
Wishing you and your family
Happy and Prosperous Tihar!!

Take care everyone,

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

P.S: Do not forget to nominate  your favorite blog .

Nominations open for NEPALIAUSTRALIAN’s Blog Award 2014

Celebrating Tihar

Like every year, we celebrated Tihar this year as well. For the details of the festival, please click here. I am sharing some of the photos from the festival.

Kaag / Kag (crow) Puja

Kaag puja (2)Kaag puja (1)

Kukur (dog) Puja

kukur puja (2) kukur puja (1)

Laxmi Puja and Gai (cow) Puja

laxmi puja (9)laxmi puja (7) laxmi puja (1) laxmi puja (3) laxmi puja (4) laxmi puja (5) laxmi puja (6) laxmi puja (8)

Mha Puja and Nepal Sambat

mha puja (2) mha puja (5)mha puja (4) mha puja (3) mha puja (6) mha puja (7) mha puja (1)

Bhai Tika

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This year, I have one more person to put tika on and that is my little nephew. It was so much fun and amazingly he even managed to sit still on his father’s lap in front of the mandap for the whole puja.

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Hope all of you had great time celebrating the festival.

tihar

P.S: Do not forget to nominate  your favorite blog .

Nominations open for NEPALIAUSTRALIAN’s Blog Award 2013

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Living in the west with values of the east

This article was published in DREAMS online magazine on 3rd October 2013.

dreams

When I was living in Nepal, I used to be annoyed and irritated by Nepali culture, tradition and values from time to time. Sometimes, I wished that I could run away from all that and live my life the way I wanted. And my wish was fulfilled when I left Nepal to come to Australia.

Having lived outside the country for more than decade now, I know how wrong my thoughts were. These days, I miss our culture, tradition, rituals and values that I used to ignore before. Not only do I miss it, I actually want to be a part of it and hope to pass it on to my kids and grand-kids one day, like my mother and grandmother did.

The festive season of Dashain and Tihar is here, and it is one of my favourite times of the year. This festive time has helped me connect with Nepal, Nepali culture and tradition. Before, I used to wish things could be as good in Australia as in Nepal, but that was just wishful thinking. So instead of being sad and depressed, this time I decided that we would celebrate the festivals with whatever we could.

With the motto, “If the mountain will not come to M, then M must go to the mountain”, we bring Nepali style Dashain and Tihar to Sydney. For the last few years, I have been having a lot of fun in Nepali festivals here.

For Dashain, I plant Jamara during Ghatasthapana, and it is ready for Tika day. During Asthami, Nawami and Dashami, we plan a Newari bhoj to mark the days.

Last year we had Kuchi Bhwey, a Newari bhoj consisting of Baji/Chiura(beaten/flattened rice), Chicken curry, Spinach, Methi kerau (fenugreek and peas), Thulo kerau (big peas), Golbheda achar (tomato pickle), Butan(meat fry), Aloo tama(potatoes with bamboo shoots), and Methi(fenugreek) salad on Asthami.

On Nawami, we followed the tradition and performed a worship of our car. Later we had Samay Baji, a Newari dish consisting of Baji/Chiura(beaten/flattened rice) , Haku Mushya (black soyabean), Chhwela (smoked meat), Puka-la (spicy roasted meat), Aalu achar (cold potato salad ), Bhuti (boiled beans with spices), Khyen (boiled egg), Panchkwa (bamboo shoot, potato, beans mixed curry), Wo or Bara (shallow fried pancakes made of black lentil), Lava-palu (ginger and garlic), Achar (pickle), Wauncha (green vegetables) and Aayla (Newari liquor).

On Vijaya Dashmi, we normally take a day off from work so we can have fun with our loved ones. It is always fun to be blessed by elders with red Tika and Jamara. Following Tika, there are a few days where we get invited for tika, and this normally concludes the celebration of Dashain.

After a few weeks, we celebrate Tihar in full swing as well. I know people overseas normally celebrate only Bhai Tika but I didn’t want to miss out on the other days. So I perform Kag Tihar, Kukkur Tihar, Laxmi Puja and Mha Puja as well.

I haven’t seen many crows around in Sydney, so I decided to print a photo of a crow to perform my puja with. I know it sounds a bit silly, but it helps me to celebrate the festival. I did the same during Kukur Puja, printed the photo of a dog that my parents have in Nepal. If you ever feel like celebrating Tihar in full swing, you may want to follow my ideas.

I love Laxmi Puja as it make me feel happy and there is so much to do. We start the evening by lighting fairy lights and candles. Then I perform Laxmi Puja to the best to my knowledge. I normally print out the Mandap and Laxmi’s footsteps so I can perform the puja. Living overseas, we have to make do with whatever we can rather than missing out in the belief that we can’t do it.

Following Laxmi Puja, we performed Mha Puja with my brother, cousins, and friends. Mha Puja is such a great way to come together and have fun in our Newar culture. For this puja too we used printed mandaps, which made it easy for us to set up the puja. Like in Nepal, we have Shagun (a traditional plate typically consisting of a boiled egg, smoked fish, a “bara”, haku chhoila”  and “aila”, which ends with “dhau”) and bless our body for good health.

And finally, there is the Bhai Tika, which is always a big deal for me. I have two brothers on whom I perform the Puja, and I wanted to make sure it is a great celebration. I and my cousin even learned how to make Sel Roti, so our celebration is a lot like Nepal’s. I prepare for Bhai Tika weeks in advance, making masala (pack of dry fruits & nuts) and buying fruits, snacks and clothes. I prepare Shagun on the day and bake cakes for puja as well. I am always happy to see my brothers enjoying the day with me, and blessing me with happiness and gifts.

Not only celebrating Dashain and Tihar, but we try to do whatever we can to be in touch with Nepalese tradition and culture. Recently, my nephew had his 6th birthday, and it was celebrated with yomari (a newari delicacy made of external covering of rice-flour and an inner content of treacle) mala like in Nepal. One of my nephews was born here in Australia, so we did his chatti and nwaran (naming ceremony) according to Hindu rituals. We celebrate Teej every year wearing red and eating yummy Nepalese cuisine. And whenever possible, we go to Nepal to celebrate milestones like marriage and pasni. We had a traditional Newari wedding which went for over a week, and my nephew had his pasni in Nepal with our relatives and friends.

Even though I don’t have kids of my own right now, I know that they are affected by many thing in life, but their strongest main values are learned from their parents, society and surrounding environment. I know that even in Nepal, with globalisation we are losing some of our traditional values fast, while we adopt easily imitable aspects of western culture. Nepal has a unique blend of culture and customs, and people travel millions of miles to learn and observe these in Nepal. It will be a shame for our kids not to know their own customs, traditions, and rituals.

I hope my effort in bringing our eastern culture to the west will help my kids and their kids to learn more about Nepal, Nepali culture, traditions, rituals and values, so that they know their root and can be proud of it. I have been away from Nepal for a long time, but I still cherish the values that I have learned, and I hope one day, our next generation will do the same.

Happy Dashain and Tihar to all readers. No matter where you are, enjoy it in full swing!!!!

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Gai Puja and Laxmi Puja : Tihar

As I mentioned in my previous post, today is  Gai Puja and Laxmi Puja as well.

In the morning of this day, the cow, the mother of the universe, is worshiped. According to Hinduism, the human infant is fed breast milk by its human mother for three years. After weaning, the cow acts as the surrogate mother providing milk for the rest of the human life – through childhood, adult age and old age. Cows are the mothers of the universe, the sacred animal. Hindus consider a cow as sacred and used its milk, dung and even urine for purification purpose. Those performing Cow puja place her manure in different parts of the home, drink a drop or two of the cow’s urine, as a part of a purification process. Also dip a blade of grass into the urine and lightly sprinkle it on each other’s body to become closer to the mother of the universe – cow.

People in villages who have a cow worship their cow but most of the people in Kathmandu don’t have a cow so they either go to a priest’s house or to a temple to worship the cow.

Cow is worshiped by putting tika on their forehead and a garland around their neck. They are offered a delicious meal and fruits.

 A cow also symbolises wealth and a form of goddess Laxmi.

In the afternoon, the whole house is cleaned in preparation for welcoming the goddess of wealth, Laxmi. Most of the houses have their front door decorated with a mandap and have a trail of red mud leading to their Puja room (worship room in the house) .

Laxmi Puja is performed using flowers, incense, oil lamps, color-powders, bell and money (both notes and coins). Laxmi puja is performed at dusk using red mud, and puja is often done by a female in the family.

When I was young, I used to help mum do this. It was one of my favourite holiday activities. First, red mud is used to make a trail leading to the Puja room. Once it is dry, a mixture of flour and water is used to make a symbolic footprint of Goddess Laxmi on the floor entering the home. Once the flour footprints have dried, vermillion mixed with oil is put on them along with some flowers. This results in a trail of small red footprints from the main door of the house to the Puja room symbolising that Goddess Laxmi has entered the house.

The entire house is decorated with flower garlands and lit oil lamps in every doors and windows.

Also people use firecrackers to celebrate the festival.

In Australia, we can’t do all this so I printed out small footsteps on paper and used that as an alternative to lead the Goddess Laxmi to our Puja area. Also at the start of the footsteps, I had a mandap of Lord Ganesh.

I set up a photo of goddess Laxmi with some notes and our piggy bank in the Puja area.

Then I performed Puja using tika, flower, garland, fruits, roti and masala.

I had candles lit in the puja area as well as twinkle lights to simulate the ambience of Tihar.

Laxmi puja is not only for households but is also performed by businesses. Business-Laxmi-Puja is done exactly the same way as is done in home. Usually the company’s cashier performs the puja during which time the entire office including office compounds are lit with various lights including electrical, candle lights, and oil lamps and usually the staffs are invited to participate in the puja procession.

From this day on for the next 3 days, there will be women in groups coming door to door singing special songs called Bhailani. It is considered auspicious to have these groups come to your front door. The house owner will offer them some rotis, fruits and money and they sing Bhailo blessing the household with good fortune.

Hapyy Tihar!!!

Kukur Puja: Tihar

Today is second day of Tihar which is Kukur Puja as well as Laxmi Puja. Some years due to the placement of moon and other planets in the universe, some of the pujas fall on the same day.

I will write about Laxmi Puja tonight after I perform my Laxmi Puja at home.

Kukur Puja

The second day of Tihar is called “Kukur Puja” or “Khicha Puja” (“worship of the dogs”) by the Newars.

A dog is considered as man’s best friend and for Hindus, a dog is also considered as the steed of God “Bhairab” as well as Yama’s (God of death) gate keeper. The Hindu epic Mahabharata talks about the close relationship dogs have enjoyed with mankind. According to it, a dog is said to have accompanied Dharmaraj Yudhisthir on his journey to heaven alive. Dogs howling is considered a bad omen as it means that, they saw “Yama coming to take someone away.

The dog is revered as a faithful and loyal animal which has been in the company of humans since ages. Around the year, dogs help humans by guarding their houses. So on the second day of Tihar, dogs are worshipped by putting tika on their forehead and a garland around their neck. They are offered a delicious meal consisting of meat and other dishes.

People perform the puja on their own dogs if they have one at home; otherwise they perform the puja on stray dogs. On this day you can see many stray dogs with red tika and a flower gland in Nepal.

We don’t have a dog here but my parents have a dog called “Chhotu”.

So I performed my Kukur Puja with his photo. I really am grateful to him that he is there to protect and warn my parents against thieves and the likes.

 

I miss him so much.I hope we will have our own dog one day to do this puja. 🙂

Happy Tihar!!!

Tihar

Today we start the second biggest festival, after Dashain, for Hindu from Nepal.

This festival is celebrated in five days starting from the thirteenth day of the waning moon in October.

 The five days are called

  • Kaag / Kag (crow) Puja
  • Kukur (dog) Puja
  • Laxmi Puja and Gai (cow) Puja
  • Goru Puja,Gobhardan Puja , Mha Puja and Nepal Sambat
  • Bhai Tika

We also refer to Tihar as ‘Panchak Yama’ which literally means ‘The five days of the Lord of the underworld’. We also worship ‘Yamaraj’ in different forms in these five days.

In other words this festival is meant for life and death.The five-day festival is considered to be of great importance as it shows reverence to not just the humans and the Gods, but also to the animals like crow, cow and dog, who maintain an intense relationship with the humans. It is also a time for cooking great meals at home, brothers and sisters shopping for gifts, flying kites, decorating homes and streets, playing cards with friends, resting and relaxing.

Tihar is also called The Festival of Lights, as many diyo or candles or decorative lights are lit both inside and outside the houses to make them bright at night. All the houses are cleaned and decorated with the belief that Goddess Laxmi will enter the house that is clean so people light candles, oil lamps and other lights and thus during the night the entire village or city looks like millions of sparkling gems.

There is a story, which tells why this revelry is celebrated so widely. Once there was a king who was living his last days. His astrologer had told him that a serpent would come and take his life away. The king did not want to die so he asked the astrologer if there was any way to escape death. The king was advised to sleep with lit oil lamps all around his bed and decorate the palace with oil lamps on the day of Laxmi puja so that Goddess Laxmi would talk to the serpent not to take his life. It did happen; the serpent was convinced by Goddess Laxmi. The serpent took the king to Yama Raj and told him that it was not yet the king’s time to come to the underworld. So Yama Raj opened his ledger and in it the kings remaining age was written zero, but the serpent cleverly put seven before zero. Thus the king lived for seventy more years. So form then onwards Tihar is widely celebrated worshipping the lord of the underworld and Goddess Laxmi.

Another mytological reasons behind the celebration  is that Lord Ram return to Ayodhya  after 14 years of exile. He killed Ravan on Nawani of Dashain thus we celebrate Dashain and his home-coming is celebrated in Tihar with lights and flowers.

Tihar is also celebrated by playing Langurburja. It is a game similar to the British dice game “Crown and Anchor”. I remember taking money from dad and running to play a game with my friends. The game is played with 6 dice and a mat. The mat has similar symbols, as the dice, and they are spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs, crown and flag. The player can choose one or more symbols to bet his money on. If he gets at least one die with the same symbol which he bet on, he wins. If he gets two then he wins 2:1, the more he gets on the throw the more money he wins. As a kid we used to play for 25 paisa (equivalent to less than a cent in AUD now) a game. It was more for fun than for the money. I am sure they now play with more money than that.

Adults mostly play cards instead of Langurburja.

It also incorporates the Newar’s New Year, which is called Nepal Sambat.

Last weekend, I went shopping in preparation of the festival and bought lots of sweets, fruits and food.  I couldn’t find all the things I will need for Tihar and I was a bit disappointed in Nepali/Indian grocery in Sydney who are charging arms and legs for things we use for Tihar. Just an example, we need jajanka for Tihar which normally would cost around Rs 10 in Nepal but are selling for $2 (Rs180) each in Sydney!

Kaag Puja / Kag Puja

The first day of Tihar is Kaag / Kag (crow) puja which falls on 12 November this year.

Crow is supposed to be a henchman for Lord Yamaraj. Hindus believe crows to be messengers of good or bad news. With its croaking, it conveys messages like visitor coming to the house etc. It is also believed to be a messenger of Yama, the God of death

To avert grief and death in the family, Hindus worship crows during Kaag / Kag Tihar offering it sweets and various dishes. On this day crows are offered food on a plate made out of leaves in the morning before anyone in the house takes in food. In Nepal a crow is not killed cause as a legend says that one crow had happened to drink the water of life. Thus you can see crows everywhere sitting without the fear of human beings. Once you leave offerings on the balcony, a crow will come and eat the food.

Where there are no crows, any winged animal of the heavens (bird) will enjoy the feast.

In Australia, I haven’t seen many crows around so I printed a photo of a crow and performed the Puja this morning. I had a shower and then prepared puja. Here are some photos of Kaag / Kag puja from this morning 🙂

Happy Tihar everyone!!!

I will write about other days like Kukur Puja, Gai Puja and Laxmi Puja, Goru Puja , Govardhan Puja , Mha Puja and Nepal Sambat and Bhai Tika as the festival progresses.