Whether you believe in dogs or not, this custom will restore some of your faith in humanity
As said “Every dog has its day“, it is true here. Kukur Tihar is a day in which people worship Dogs every year as a messenger of Yama.
On this day, all dogs, both owned and stray, will be treated royally.
Kukur Tihar or Kukur Puja literally means “dog worship.” This is a sub-festival of the biggest Hindu festival of Diwali or the Festival of Lights. One of the festive days is dedicated solely to the human’s most devoted friend and guardian, according to Nepalese tradition. A dog is a sacred animal in Hinduism, meant to form a special bond with a human and accompany us on our journey to heaven.
Canines are treated with special love and admiration during Kukur Tihar. Each one is given a flower garland, or “mala,” to wear around its neck. The forehead is painted with a paste made of Kumkum, rice, and yogurt called “Talik” or “tikka.” This marking represents their sanctity. Dogs enjoy feasting on various treats ranging from fruit and cookies to Pedigree, milk, cheese, Treats, and high-quality dog food.
This festival makes no exceptions—every dog, whether owned or stray, receives such special treatment. Even Nepalese Police Dogs are getting into the holiday spirit. Aside from a day off and general festivities, they also participate in a special march designed to commemorate the occasion.
This is also celebrated every year in Udaipur, Rajasthan. Diwali is celebrated every year in late October or early November. The festival lasts five days, with Kukur Tihar always falling on the second day.
However, dogs are not the only animals honoured in Nepal. The crow is worshipped on the first day of Tihar, a five-day festival. On the third day, cows are honored in the morning and Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, is honoured in the evening. On the fourth day, various people worship various beings such as oxen, mountains, or even themselves!