KATHMANDU: The third day of Yamapanchak or Tihar festival is being celebrated by worshipping Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, affluence and prosperity, this evening, with devotion.
On the day of Laxmi Puja, people clean their houses and surrounding, illuminate their homes and light butter lamps to invite the goddess to their homes, in the belief that the goddess Laxmi abhors house which is not cleaned and is untidy.
In the rural areas where the houses are made of mud and stone, people daub the house with cow dung and red soil.
The night of Laxmi Puja is also known as Sukha Ratri, meaning the night of happiness as it is believed that Goddess Laxmi comes to reside in the house on this special night.
To ‘welcome’ the goddess in the house, devotees make footprint signs from their courtyard up to the main altar where the goddess is worshipper amidst all kinds of rituals.
On the evening of Laxmi Puja, troupes of teenage girls from the neighborhood sing the bhailo songs amidst dancing and merriment.
The bhailo troupes visit house to house in the neighborhood performing the bhailo cultural songs and dances.
In return, the house owners, especially mothers, give various presents like paddy, rice grain, flower garlands, money and ‘selroti’, a special delicacy cooked in ghee.
It is believed the house owner is bestowed with blessings from the goddess by presenting the donation to these bhailo troupes.
Night illumination is carried out at homes by lighting colorful electric lights and butter lamps. The buildings in the city area are bedecked with colorful lights that are illuminated on the occasion.
Kukur Tihar today
Kukur Tihar, the festival of dogs, is also being celebrated in every household today.
Dog, which is an animal well known for being a trustworthy sentry as well as a faithful companion of humans since ancient times, is worshipped once a year on this day. People worship the dog, garland it and offer delicious food to it in Kukur Tihar.
This day is also called Narak Chaturdashi. People take holy dips in rivers and ponds at sunrise on this day in observance of the Narak Chaturdashi. After taking the holy bath, devotees light what is known as the Yamadeep facing it southwards.
This lamp is later released into the river and there is the belief that by doing this one would not have to go to the Narak or hell after death.
Dog, which is said to have accompanied Dharmaraj Yudhisthir on his journey to heaven in the mythological grand epic Mahabharat, has a close relationship with mankind.