Kukur Tihar is a festival for man’s best friend. It celebrates the companionship, love and respect that humans have for dog. Celebrated on the second day of Tihar, it is considered the equivalent of Diwali, in Nepal.
Here, dogs are blessed with a Tika – a red mark applied to their forehead, a marigold garland and offered yummy treats as part of the festival. And this isn’t limited to just their pets at home. Worshippers perform the ritual for stray dogs too.
The festival is celebrated because it is believed that the dog is the messenger of the god of death Yamaraj. By appeasing dogs and keeping them in good spirits, the worshippers have faith that they are appeasing Yamaraj himself.
The message has become so popular that animal rights activists in Mexico have adopted it since 2016 to raise awareness about the abandonment of dogs. Organiser of the festival Martha Dau has stated that “It is important to raise awareness among the population about the respect we owe dogs”. She added, “we are convinced that a human being who does not hurt an animal will hardly hurt a human being.”
Not only were the dogs garlanded and fed their favourite treats but the celebrations included colourful drapes, banners and even rangoli.