A Dog’s Story
A Dog’s Story Dogs are feted, honoured and worshipped at Nepal’s religious festivals.
Adog’s life may not be so bad if the animal happens to be in Nepal, where the canine is treated with veneration. For 2500 years, dogs have been revered as protectors and a day in autumn is dedicated to man’s best friend when they are honoured, celebrated and even worshipped.
Dogs have a major religious significance in Nepal. Diwali or Tihar, as it is called in Nepal, is a five-day Hindu festival, generally known as the festival of lights. are lit both inside and outside houses. The festival celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, of knowledge over ignorance, and the dissolution of barriers. Tihar is also about breaking the boundaries that man has created, of the “good,” the “bad” and the “ugly,” which means even seemingly insignificant creatures
are also cherished. It represents the divine attachment between humans and other animals. It is a period of giftgiving, storytelling and recognition of the relationships humans have with all things. Each day has its own focus, and specific observances.
The festival is considered to be of great importance as it shows reverence to not just the humans and the gods, but also to animals like crows, cows and dogs which maintain an intense relationship with humans. By devoting days during the festival of lights to animals, worshippers acknowledge the deep connection between all living things, with each day devoted to honoring a different concept or entity.
During the festival, people make patterns on the floor of living rooms or courtyards using materials such as colored rice, dry flour, colored sand or flower petals. This art is known as
Rangoli which is meant to be a sacred welcoming. Nepalese Hinduism is unique in dedicating the second day of Tihar to the worship of dogs. The second day is called Kukur Tihar or worship of the dogs. The role of dogs in human life and throughout history is celebrated on this day.The Kukur Tihar honors dogs as guardians, companions and friends.
The dog appears in the earliest of Hindu texts as a companion, protector and helper of the gods. In the one of Hinduism’s most ancient texts, Samara — the mother of dogs — assists Indra, the ruler of heaven, in retrieving stolen cattle. Samara or the ‘dog of the gods’ is said to represent the mother of all wild animals. She