It falls in the late autumn, and lights up the countries of Nepal and India at a time when the chill of winter starts to knock on people’s doors. It lasts for five days, it is very beautiful as all places are illuminated – a bit like lights at Christmas.
In reality Diwali is not just one festival, but a series of different ones. They are celebrated to worship the bonds between humans and animals, between brothers and sisters, and to ask for wealth and good luck.
The first day is called Yama puja and worships the god of Death (Yama) to ask for a long life. On this day some people also worship crows, as they are considered agents of Yama and animals of ill-omens and grief: By worshipping them it is hoped to avert grief and deaths in the homes.
On the second day dogs are worshipped. They are known to be gatekeepers of Yama, and worshipping them on this day is meant to appease the god of Death
Goddess of Wealth Worship
The third day is Laxmi puja, and the most important day of the festival. It is celebrated to worship the Goddess of Wealth, Laxmi. During the day, cows are worshipped as a symbol of wealth. All people clean their houses, draw colourful pictures on the ground and light oil lamps and other lights, in order to invite her to enter their house.As Laxmi is travelling on an owl, she only moves at night – therefore the many dazzling lights are light on this day to show her the way to the homes.
Body and Life
On the fourth day different parts of the society celebrate different festivals: Some worship bulls, others cows, and Newari people observe Mha Puja- a ritual of worshipping the own body and life. For Newari people this is also New Year’s day.
Brothers & Sisters
The last day of Tihar is called Bhai Tika – a day for brothers. Sisters worship their brothers for a long and healthy life. Gifts are also exchanged on this day between brothers and sisters.