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Deepawali 2024: Celebrating the Festival of Lights with Joy and Tradition

Home » Blog Post » Deepawali 2024: Celebrating the Festival of Lights with Joy and Tradition

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Last Updated: April 07, 2024

Step into the radiant world of Diwali Festival 2024 in Nepal, where lights twinkle, hearts overflow with joy, and traditions come alive! Join us as we delve into the dates, timings, and vibrant celebrations that make Diwali one of the most cherished festivals in this beautiful Himalayan nation.

Preparation for Bhai Tika ceremony during Deepawali festival.
Preparation for Bhai Tika ceremony during Deepawali festival.

Deepawali Festival 2024 Dates and Time 

Deepawali or Tihar shines as the most significant celebration in Nepal and India. The five-day festival in 2024 spans from October 21st to October 25th. Each Tihar day highlights special rituals honouring nature, animals, and relationships. Scheduled by the Hindu Lunar Calendar, Deepawali begins before the waxing moon arrives, typically between Ashwin and Kartik. It symbolizes the triumph of light, wisdom, and well-being. Deepawali, also called the “Festival of Lights,” unites Hindus and non-Hindus in Nepal and India. During Deepawali, homes and businesses glow with illuminated clay lamps.

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.

 A stunning rangoli design embellishing the home during the festive season of Deepawali.
A stunning rangoli design embellishing the home during the festive season of Deepawali.

Day 1: Kaag Tihar – Honoring the Crow

The first day of Deepawali in Nepal is Kaag Tihar, dedicated to honouring crows. Crows are believed to be messengers of Yama, the god of death, and offering them food is considered auspicious. Early in the morning, families place food offerings, such as sweets and grains, on rooftops and balconies for crows to feed on. This ritual symbolizes gratitude towards these birds and invokes blessings for protection and well-being.

Day 2: Kukur Tihar – Worshiping Dogs

On the second day of Deepawali, people dedicate Kukur Tihar to worship dogs, considering them loyal companions and guardians. Dogs are adorned with garlands of marigold flowers and tilak (vermilion mark) on their foreheads as a sign of respect and appreciation. Puja rituals are performed to honour dogs for their role in protecting homes and families. Special treats and food offerings are prepared for them as a token of gratitude and love.

Day 3: Laxmi Puja – Worshiping Goddess Laxmi

Laxmi Puja, the third day of Deepawali, is dedicated to worshipping Goddess Laxmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Homes and businesses are adorned with colourful rangoli patterns, clay lamps, and lights to welcome the goddess into their abodes. People conduct elaborate puja ceremonies, offering prayers, hymns, and offerings to Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha. People seek blessings for prosperity, abundance, and success in their endeavours.

Day 4: Gobardhan Puja – Honoring Nature

On the fourth day of Deepawali, people celebrate Gobardhan Puja, also known as Goru Tihar or Govu Puja, to honour nature and livestock, especially cows. People perform puja rituals to worship cows, considering them sacred in Hinduism for their role in providing milk, food, and other resources. Cows are adorned with garlands and tilak, and offerings of food and grass are made to them. The day also celebrates the legend of Lord Krishna lifting the Govardhan Hill to protect the villagers from Indra’s wrath.

Day 5: Bhai Tika – Strengthening Sibling Bonds

Bhai Tika, the last day of Deepawali, celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters. Sisters perform puja rituals for the well-being and longevity of their brothers, applying tilak on their foreheads and offering prayers. Brothers, in turn, vow to protect and support their sisters. Families come together for festive meals and exchange gifts, strengthening the bond of love and affection between siblings.

 Brother applying tika on sister's forehead during Bhai Tika ceremony.
Brother applying tika on sister’s forehead during Bhai Tika ceremony.

Diwali Meaning and Myths

Diwali, known as Deepawali, is among the most significant festivals Hindus celebrate. The festival derives its name from the Sanskrit word “Deepavali,” which means “row of lights.” As its name implies, Deepawali characterizes the illumination of lamps, candles, and fireworks, signifying the triumph of illumination over darkness, righteousness over hostility, and enlightenment over unawareness.

Several ancient legends and myths form the foundation of Deepawali’s significance, each adding to the festival’s rich tapestry of meanings. Here are some of the prominent legends associated with Deepawali:

1. The Return of Lord Rama:

One of the most well-known legends associated with Diwali is the return of Lord Rama, accompanied by his spouse Sita and brother Lakshmana, returning to Ayodhya following 14 years of exile. As per the ancient Ramayana, Lord Rama emerged victorious in battle against the demon king Ravana and liberated Sita from captivity in Lanka. The people of Ayodhya welcomed their beloved prince by lighting rows of lamps to guide his way home, marking the beginning of the tradition of lighting lamps during Diwali.

2.The Victory of Lord Krishna:

Another significant legend associated with Diwali is the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon king Narakasura. According to Hindu mythology, Narakasura was a tyrannical demon who terrorized the world. Lord Krishna, with the help of his wife Satyabhama, defeated Narakasura and liberated the people from his oppression. People celebrate the day of Narakasura’s defeat as Naraka Chaturdashi, the second day of Deepawali, by lighting lamps and setting off fireworks.

3. Goddess Lakshmi and Wealth:

Deepawali also links with revering Goddess Lakshmi, the deity of abundance and prosperity. Believers hold that Goddess Lakshmi visits homes brightly lit, clean, and adorned with decorations on the night of Deepawali. Devotees perform special puja ceremonies to invoke Goddess Lakshmi’s blessings and seek her blessings for wealth, prosperity, and abundance in the coming year.

Celebrating Laxmi Puja night with the radiant glow of clay lamps, invoking the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi for prosperity and abundance in the coming year.
Celebrating Laxmi Puja night with the radiant glow of clay lamps.

Must-Do Activities For Visitors During Deepawali:

Rani Pokhari Temple: Visitors have a rare chance to explore Rani Pokhari Temple, which remains closed to the public throughout the year except during the fifth day of the Tihar Festival. Nestling in the heart of downtown Kathmandu, this temple sits amidst an artificial pond, enhancing its serene and picturesque atmosphere. Don’t miss the chance to witness the special rituals and celebrations here during Tihar, offering a glimpse into Nepal’s rich cultural heritage and traditions.

Thamel: Explore the bustling streets of Thamel, Kathmandu’s vibrant tourist hub, which comes alive with Tihar festivities. Experience the lively atmosphere, shop for festive souvenirs, and sample delicious street food.

Sample Tihar Delicacies: Indulge in the delicious flavours of Tihar cuisine, which includes a variety of sweet and savoury dishes prepared especially for the festival. Treat yourself to traditional delicacies such as sel roti, yomari, and various sweets and snacks in local markets and eateries.

Enjoy Cultural Performances: During the Tihar celebrations, delight in traditional music and dance performances. Kathmandu and other cities host cultural events showcasing Nepali folk music, classical dance forms, and theatrical performances. Engage fully in the lively beats and melodic tunes that define Nepali culture.

Attend the Grand Tihar Festival in Kathmandu: Experience the grandeur of Tihar in Kathmandu, the city’s largest and most colourful celebration. Marvel at the illuminated streets at night and immerse yourself in many religious and cultural celebrations. From mesmerizing puja ceremonies to vibrant cultural performances, Kathmandu’s Tihar festival offers an unforgettable experience.

Siblings strike a pose with garlands of marigold on Deepawali Bhaitika day, cherishing the bond of love and tradition amidst the festive celebrations.
Siblings strike a pose with garlands of marigold on Deepawali Bhaitika day, cherishing the bond of love and tradition amidst the festive celebrations.

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