Even though dog owners shower their furry friends with love every day, during Tihar, a five-day Hindu festival, people dedicate an entire day to celebrating man’s best friend.
Tihar, which is celebrated primarily in Nepal and some parts of India, lasts for five days. This year it runs from October 25 to 29. On the second day of the festival, Kukur Tihar or “day of the dogs”, people honor dogs and their role in human life.
Dogs, both pets and strays, are celebrated with garlands made out of marigolds, tilaka, a mark typically worn on the forehead, and lots of treats.
Dogs play an important part in Hindu mythology.
It is said that Yudhishthira refused to enter heaven without a dog that followed him on his journey. Samsara, the mother of dogs, assists Indra, the ruler of heaven, with retrieving lost cattle. It is also said that two dogs guard the gates to the afterlife alongside Yamraj, the god of death.
During the five-day festival, crows, cows, as well the relationship between brothers and sisters are also celebrated.
According to the Nepali Times, in 2016 a number of Mexican animal rights groups felt inspired by Kukur Tihar and held a similar festival in celebration of dogs.
We should celebrate our dogs every day, but it’s also great to set aside a day specifically dedicated to them.
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