A to Z Learn Something New Every Day

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KUKUR TIHAR FESTIVAL OF DOGS

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NOVEMBER 10, 2015

The five-day autumn Festival of Lights in Nepal, this year from Nov. 9-13, celebrates the varying denominations of Hinduism. In Nepalese the word Diwali is called Tihar. Neither probably mean much to you, so let me elaborate. Diwali is a time to give gifts, tell stories, and appreciate the human relationship with all things. Lamps are lit at night to signify the triumph of the light over the darkness. Light represents our ability to choose knowledge over the ignorance that separates us from having truly authentic relationships.

Kukur Tihar  is the second day of the celebration dedicated to the worship of dogs. On that day all dogs, including strays are honored with wreaths of flowers draped around their necks, and the tika ( a red mark on the forehead) which marks the dog as a creature worthy of devotion and one that is on the righteous path. The tika blesses all that come in contact with the dog. While I’m sure that is all well and good, I’m certain the dogs are far more keen on the gustatory portion of the celebration. Food is put out for every dog and depending upon what is eaten (which I suspect is near everything), a prediction of good fortune is made for the community.

Dogs in the Hindu tradition

“Dogs are especially important to Nepal’s Hindu practitioners. During day two of Tihar, Kukur Tihar, the role of dogs in human life and throughout history is celebrated. In the Rigveda, one of Hinduism’s most ancient texts, Samara — the mother of dogs — assists Indra, the ruler of heaven, in retrieving stolen cattle. Hindu tradition holds that a dog is the guardian and messenger of Yama, the lord and judge of the dead. A dog is also said to guard the gates of the afterlife.

 Indra refuses to allow Yudhishthira’s dog into heaven. Yudhishthira refuses to enter heaven without his dog. Image excerpted from Mahahbharata on archive.org, sourced from Wikipedia.

At the close of the Mahabharata, the king of righteousness, Yudhishthira, refuses to enter heaven without his devoted dog. The dog is revealed to represent the concept of dharma, the path of righteousness. During Tihar, each day is devoted to a honoring a different concept or entity: crows, dogs, cows, oxen, and fraternal relationships, respectively. On the second day, Kukur Tihar, all dogs are recognized, honored, and worshiped.”  source

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SEE YOU IN NOVEMBER!

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26 thoughts on “A to Z Learn Something New Every Day

  1. Finally: proof that you have totally gone to the dogs. Bear is not surprised.
    Bear also wonders if there is a day for Bears in Tihar. There are such things as Himalayan Brown Bears — they have a golden-reddish colour to them, and seem a bit moon-faced. They are the largest animals in the Himalayas, and are heading towards extinction.
    Blessings and Bear hugs!

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  2. P.S.:What is with the November 2015 dateline. We haven’t even had September yet. Waaaaay too early to start hibernating again!

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  3. You know what would be fun? A day to celebrate cats and put wreaths around THEIR necks, then watch them back up all over the room, trying to back out of the wreaths.

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  4. I did learn something new today Zoe. Very interesting!
    I fully expect to see my dogs in heaven when I get there one day (assuming I’m going there LOL) As Clark would say, they are the perfect life form.
    Yes. Namaste Douglas 😀

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  5. Now I learnt somthing very useful. Thanks so much. I always thought dogs were the most intelligent of life forms after Homo sapiens. The Dolphins and whathaveyous aren’t even close. If you work out who is the dominant species on the planet and then (a) get them to look after you (b) treat you as one of the family (c) and have them consider you the must loyal and dependable . That’s intelligence.

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  6. I love that celebration! I’m impressed. Oh how dogs should always be honored! Thanks for sharing this tradition.
    Very interesting. I know I wouldn’t go into Heaven if my dogs weren’t allowed. What kind of Heaven would that be??
    Michele at Angels Bark

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  7. yeah! I’m with Kristi (especially in the canine-philia)…who the hell (heck) did I miss this one…oh well, I probably would have totally dominated the comment thread with something as totally insightful and overwhelmingly comprehensive as:

    “Yay! dogs!!”

    lol

    (I’m writing from your Future, zoe who reads the comments right after publishing this Post. Nope! the world has not yet ended, but up here in the far future May 2 2015!! we have jet pack and flying trains and toasters that have a brain and vacuum cleaners that were designed and promoted as the Best-Vucuum-Ever and are so good a design that if you don’t like it, you should be ostracized… yeah a roger.
    I’m probably revealing too much!! 10 4*

    *yeah that expression has replaced ‘goodby and no problem’ here in the future

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