Did you know that in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas the wonderfully life-affirming, week-long festival of Tihar has just been celebrated?
It’s a personal favourite and runs as follows:
Day 1 – ‘Dhan Teras’, when the sheer abundance of life is celebrated through the mythology and imagery of either Kubera or Laxmi.
Day 2 – ‘Kaag Tihar’, when crows are fed before eating, as a reminder that wisdom is accessible in everything and at all times, even in the seemingly common and ordinary.
Day 3 – ‘Kukur Tihar’, when even scavenging dogs have garlands thrown around their necks in gratitude for their protection and companionship, as a reminder that our usual judgements of good and bad, beautiful and ugly are cultural impositions and not a reality.
Day 4 – ‘Gai Tihar’ (called ‘Diwali’ on the Plains), when lamps are lit, houses repainted and cleaned. In the morning, cows are honoured for their milk, maternal instinct and gentle natures. In the evening, the imagery and mythology of Kali is used to teach that we all have the potential to ‘blast’ free our self-limiting perceptions through the progressive, enlightening expansion of consciousness.
Day 5 – ‘Goru Tihar’, when oxen are honoured in gratitude for their labour, especially in tilling the fields for food. It is also the day for ‘Maha Puja’, when we honour and respect ourselves.
Day 6 – ‘Bhai Tihar’, when vows of devotion and life-long support are shared between siblings.
You might like to read more about the fascinating culture of these foothills in