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Last Updated: October 29, 2023
In Nepal and India, Deepawali is known as Diwali, Deepavali, or Divali. In Nepal, it is commonly known as Tihar. It is a great event when families celebrate the Festival and the victory of good over evil.
People from different parts of the country celebrate the Festival with great zeal and enthusiasm.
Hindus worship Lord Ram, born to King Dasarath of Ayodhya, on this day. His foster mother, Queen Kaushalya, raised him after his father died. His wife Sita and brother Lakshman were also present at the celebration.
Diwali Festival 2023 Dates, Time and How To Celebrate in Nepal and India
There are many festivals in Nepal and India. However, Deepawali or Tihar is Nepal’s most important Festival in Nepal and as well as in India. In 2023, the 5 days Deepawali festival will begin on November 11 and continue until November 15. As per the Hindu Lunar Calendar, the festival dates are specified by the time it bears the Moon to orbit Earth.
The Deepawali festival starts just before the coming of a revived moon between the Hindu months of Ashwin and Kartik—which generally falls in October or November of the Gregorian calendar.
The Deepawali festival is a time to celebrate the success of light over darkness, wisdom over unawareness, and well-being over ill-being or good over bad.
In Nepal and India, both Hindus and non-Hindus celebrate Diwali, commonly known as the “Festival of Lights”. Homes and businesses light up during “Deepawali”, with clay lamps displayed outside.
How is the Deepawali festival celebrated?
The Festival’s celebration may differ from one place to another or region to another. Typically, family members come together to share their joy and happiness. And especially youngsters visit their neighbouring houses by playing music and singing the festival songs. And importantly, sisters put a tika- a mark of seven different colours on the forehead of their brothers by offering garlands of marigold flowers and exchanging gifts.
But commonly, each of the five days of Deepawali or Tihar Festival has its significance in Nepal. Thus, the following traditions are generally practised.
Day One: On this day, people honor and feed crows and ravens, leaving sweets and treats on their rooftops. To Hindus, the crows’ cawing signifies sorrow. Traditionally seen as messengers of Yam, feeding the crows is thought to ward off bad luck.
Day Two: On this day, people celebrate the connection between humans and their loyal dogs. They adorn these faithful companions with garlands and tika, treating them specially in thanks.
Day Three: On this morning, people venerate cows. They symbolize prosperity and well-being, so people decorate them with red forehead marks (Tika) and place garlands around their necks.
The very day in the evening – the family members worship and honour the Goddess of wealth. At the same time, they light up oil lamps in the doorways and windows of their homes. Meanwhile, local people also dance, play music, and sing songs. They collect some funds and spend the collected funds on social needs.
Day Four: The fourth day sees the worship of oxen and a unique self-purification ritual called Mha Puja. Individuals honour and worship their bodies, recognizing them as temples of the soul. During Govardhan Puja, people create mounds from cow dung, representing Mount Govardhan, and then worship them.
Day Five: The final day of Tihar is Bhai Tika, celebrating the strong bond between brothers and sisters. Sisters put tika on the foreheads of their brothers for a healthy and happy life by securing a long life. At the ceremony, sisters encircle their brother clockwise, put tika – a mark of 7 different colours on their foreheads- and exchange gifts.
The meaning of Diwali—and its many legends
Diwali is a significant Hindu festival but also celebrated by Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs. There is no single origin of the story. However, there is a root cause of every event or religion. And they ultimately represent the victory of goodness over badness.
Lord Ram, Vishnu’s Seventh avatar or incarnation, is one of the most revered deities. Deepawali, also known as Tihar, marks Ram’s return to Ayodhya after spending fourteen years in exile in the woods.
Here’s how the story evolves
In Treta Yug, people believe that Sri Ram overcame the demon king Ravana on the day known as Vijaya Dashami or Dashain. Taking about 20 days to return to his kingdom, Ayodhya, people eagerly awaited his arrival, including his consort Sita and brother Lakshman. To show their love and devotion, the citizens illuminated Ayodhya with lights in anticipation. Ram’s return coincided with the New Moon Day (Aausi or Amavasya tithi), making the night especially dark. To compensate for the moon’s absence and honor Ram’s return, people lit lamps, welcoming their future king.
Apart from Sri Ram, Deepawali is also linked to Sri Krishna, the ninth avatar of Sri Vishnu. A legend tells that Lord Krishna eliminated a demon named Narakasur on Diwali. Another legend related to the Deepawali festival is that in Dwapar Yuga, the Pandavas returned to Hastinapur after exile for thirteen years.