Kukur Tihar or Kukur Puja literally means the worship of dogs. This is a mini-festival within a larger Hindu celebration of Diwali, the festival of lights. According to Nepalese tradition, one of the festive days is dedicated solely to the human's most devoted friend and guardian. In Hindu religion, a dog is a sacred animal, intended to have a special bond with a human, so as to accompany us on our way to heaven.
During Kukur Tihar, the canines are treated with special love and admiration. Each one gets a flower garland or "malla" placed around its neck. The forehead is painted with a paste named "talik" or "tikka" made from red-colored powder, rice and yogurt. This marking symbolizes their sacredness. Dogs' favorite part of the celebration is to feast on various goodies ranging from fruit and cookies to eggs, milk, cheese, meat, and high-quality dog food.
There're no exceptions on this festival—each dog, whether home-owned or stray, receives such a special treatment. Even Nepalese Police Dogs can feel the holiday spirit. Besides being granted with a day off and general festivities, they also partake in a special march designed to mark the occasion.
You may witness these heart-melting festivities if you come to Kathmandu on time. Diwali annually falls in late October or early November. The festival stretches over five days, and Kukur Tihar always occurs on the second day.
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