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In Nepal and India, Deepawali is known as Diwali, Deepavali, or Divali. And 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 2022 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 2022 the 5 days Deepawali festival began on October 23, and the festival’s main day is October 27, 2022. 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 Ashvin 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.
Hindu and non-Hindu people from all parts of Nepal and India celebrate this Diwali festival. The festival is best well known as the festival of lights. Especially foreigners who visit Nepal and India may have difficulties remembering the names of the festivals. Thus, they call it the “Festival of Light”, as it is easy to remember them. The reason is that all the houses and business complexes are nicely decorated with different lights during the festival. Deepavali was derived from Sanskrit, meaning “row of lights.” During this festival, you will see brightly burning clay laps outside people’s homes.
How do people celebrate the Deepawali festival?
The festival’s celebration may differ from one place to another or region to another. However, the most common practices are- family members are joined together and share their joys and happiness among the family members. 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 worship crows and ravens and feed them sweet foods and delicacies left for them to find on the roof of their houses. The sound of the caw-caw of the gathering crows symbolizes sadness to Hindus. And it’s believed that the crows are the messengers of Yam, the king of the Death. And it is also believed that by feeding the crows, they can prevent any unforeseen misfortunes towards humankind.
Day Two: On this day, dogs are worshipped as an honour as they are also a part of family members. Today, you will see the dogs wearing red tika on their foreheads and garlands on their necks.
Day Three: This day in the morning, cows are worshipped. They are considered symbols of prosperity and well-being. Tika, the mark of red colours are put on their foreheads and garlands on 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: This day is the day of oxen for worshipping. Nepal is an agricultural country; thus, oxen are the best supporters of agriculture farm production. They are also honoured and worshipped as worshipped for cows.
Day Five: Today is the final day of the Deepawali or Tihar festival (October 27 this year). 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 and put tika – a mark of 7 different colours on their foreheads- and exchange gifts.
The meaning of Diwali—and its many legends
Diwali is widely celebrated—an important religious festival for Hindus, but it is observed and celebrated among Buddhism, 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. And Deepawali or Tihar is associated with Ram’s return to Ayodhya, his kingdom, after his fourteen years of exile in the jungle.
Here’s how the story evolves
In Treta Yug, it is believed that Sri Ram destroyed Ravana, the demon king of Lanka, on Dashami (the tenth day popularly known as Vijaya Dashami or Dashain). After his victory over the demon king Ravana, Sri Ram took about 20 days to return to Ayodhya, the kingdom. Meanwhile, people at Ayodhya had been waiting for Ram, including Sita and Lakshman, his consort and brother. So, as a gesture of love and devotion towards Ram, Sita and Lakshman, the people in Ayodhya decorated their city with lights to praise their arrival. Furthermore, Ram’s arrival was the day of the New Moon Day (Aausi or Amavasya tithi), and practically no moon was visible). So, to fulfil the absence of the Moon, people lit up lamps and showed their humble honours to Ram as their future king.
Besides Sri Ram, the Deepawali is associated with Sri Krishna, the ninth incarnation 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.