Festival Buddhist philosophy conceives these deities to be

Festival
That Brings “Unity”

 

Overview

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Community
acts as a fundamental organ of the society. It is the major tool that builds a
long lasting and a developed civilization. Culture is the characteristic of
group of people defined by everything such as language, religion, lifestyle
etc. Different people in different societies have different culture but they
also have some similarities. The culture varies in different things such as
clothes, foods, religion and many others.

The community that is going to invade this paper is absolutely religion bent. Religion
is intertwined with culture, economics, politics, and modern social
relationships on every level, whether you attend church habitually, or whether
you are a casual bystander, you simply cannot escape religion. Culturally,
religion affects at different levels and many religions have different levels
of faith followers. Culture and religion share a symbiotic relationship that
can influence clothes, hair, attitudes, tradition, child rearing, how we pray,
when we pray, how often we pray, and what we wear when we pray. Especially, in
a country from South Asia, Culture and Religion take their role as the adjacent
sides of a coin.

Nepal

Nepal is like a gift that comes with versatile bunch of communities. As a
secular country, Religions practiced in Nepal are: Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam,
Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism, Bon, ancestor worship and animism. The majority
of Nepalese are either Hindus or Buddhism. The two have co-existed in harmony
through centuries. Buddha is widely worshipped by both Buddhists and Hindus of
Nepal. The five Dhyani Buddhas; Vairochana, Akshobhaya, Rathasambhava, Amitabha
and Amoghasiddhi, represent the five basic elements: earth, fire, water, air
and ether. Buddhist philosophy conceives these deities to be the manifestations
of Sunya or absolute void. Mahakaala, Bajrayogini, and Vajrayana Buddhist
deities worshipped by Hindus as well. The Hindu Nepalese worship the ancient
Vedic gods. Bramha the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer,
are worshipped as the Supreme Hindu Trinity. People pray to the Shiva Linga or
the phallic symbol of Lord Shiva in most Shiva temples. Shakti, the dynamic
element in the female counterpart of Shiva, is highly revered and feared.

 

Light that kills Darkness

The Brahmin community occupies the majority of the country. Some of their
traditions are so popular that, it is majorly celebrated through the nation.
Enter epic festival: Tihar. Tihar is one of the major Hindu festivals that is
celebrated for five days in October or early November every year. It is the
festival of lights that brings the worship of Laxmi, the Goddess of Wealth,
along with the worship of dog, crow and cow respectively. On the last day,
brothers are greeted and blessed by the sisters. The crow and the dog are
regarded as the envoy of the Yama, the God of Death. The first two day observes
their worship. On the third day, cow is worshiped in the morning and Laxmi is
worshiped in the evening, with a belief that she would bring fortune to the
worshiper. Women keep fast on this day and prepare Sel rotis (A type of Wheat
Pudding) for offering the goddess. Every house, buildings and temples are
graced by the rows of light, usually the traditional Nepali lamp of twisted
cotton wick in a small clay bowl of mustard oil. The last day of Tihar is
called as Bhai Tihar, commonly known as Bhai Tika. On this day, sisters pray
for the long and prosperous life of their brothers. It is believed that a girl
called Yamuna whose brother was ill prayed for his long and healthy life. When
Yama, the God of Death came to take her brother with him, she pleaded for some
time to worship her brother. Yama granted this wish to her. Then the girl
performed a long ceremony for her brother and Yama. Yama was very pleased with
her and promised her not to take her brother’s soul until the offerings of turf
grass and the flowers remained fresh and unwilted. As the turf grass and the
flowers remained fresh till the next Bhai Tika, Yama granted the boy a long
life. From then on, the sisters began to worship their brothers for their long
and healthy life.

Story Behind the Tradition

There are various stories about the celebration of Tihar. One of the famous stories
behind the celebration of Tihar is related to Yama the god of death and his
sister Yamuna. Yama had been staying away from his sister for a long time. His
sister wanted to meet him so she asked various sources to visit him and ask him
to give her a visit. She sent crow, dog, and cow and at the end she went
herself to see her brother. She worshipped him with tika and flowers, she put
him five colored tika. Yamuna made a circle with mustard oil, Dubo Grass
(Cynodon Dactylon) and put Makhmali Mala (Globe Amaranth) and asked Yamaraj not
to go till the oil, Dubo Grass and the flower gets dry. Therefore, every sister
worships her brother keeping him in the circle of mustard oil, putting mala
(garland) of Makhmali flower and Dubo grass.

 

Closure

Even though the
festival created and adopted by the Brahmins, almost all the communities in the
country give their ultimate effort to celebrate this festival. Tihar really is
the synonym of joy and symbolism of unity in the country. A few of many
festival that beautifully represents the gem of South Asia: Nepal.