Friday, October 28, 2016

It's the Tihar Festival!

Today is the second day of the Tihar festival in Nepal! The Kukur Tihar is a special Nepalese portion of the Hindu Diwali festival, in which dogs are honored for their many contributions to human society. I had no idea dogs figured so prominently in Hinduism, but there are some really neat parts of the sacred texts featuring dogs. My absolute favorite is the epic in which Yudhishthira refuses to enter heaven without his dog.
Hindu festival honoring dogs
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Dogs are traditionally honored on the day of the Kukur Tihar with flower garlands, red tika marks on their foreheads, and tasty food offerings. I fully intended to make flower garlands for my dogs, and spend the day appreciating them. Unfortunately, life  got in the way and we spent the week housesitting, recovering from our hectic herding trial, and preparing to leave on a camping trip tomorrow. I'm pretty sure they know they are appreciated, though.

I think my favorite thing about the Kukur Tihar festival is that it honors all the dogs, not just the lucky ones belonging to devoted owners. Even stray dogs, and village dogs, are honored just for being dogs. I wish my own culture had this sort of deep appreciation for dogs and all of their past and present contributions. Maybe if we keep talking about it, the Kukur Tihar will rub off on the rest of the world a bit.

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