Tihar is an amazing time to visit Nepal… in Kathmandu there are lights on the houses, colorful “rangali” designs made of powder in front of every building, gardlands of marigolds and other flowers adorning everything, and lots of pretty ceremony on each day of the festival. Also, the children singing “Deusi” and dancing in the street (for small change) is a charming variation of Trick-or-Treat. Children have a holiday from school lasting several days to a week, and many people return to their village homes to celebrate.
There is a day for the crow, the dog, the cow, and the buffalo. On Crow day we left crumbs out on the roof for the birds’ eating pleasure. On dog day, household and stray dogs alike were given tikka powder blessing and adorned with garlands, as well as fed tasty snacks.
On the day that is dedicated to worshipping Laxmi, goddess of wealth and luck, candles are lit on stairwells, colorful designs made of powder adorn the cement outside of the buildings, and painted pathways or footsteps guide Laxmi into the home or business for her blessing.
The final day of the festival is a Brothers and Sisters Blessing day. Boys and men come and receive ritual blessings from their sisters (or any female relatives) in the form of colored powder on the forehead, donuts, fruit, flower petals, and garlands. They then give the ladies a gift of cash, cloth, or clothing. This is followed by a meal and dancing.