Tihar observed by worshiping cows in NH


Bhutanese community members in New Hampshire(NH) observed the third day of ‘Tihar’ festival by worshiping cows amidst a function at Bartlett Farm Dairy, in Concord on Wednesday the November 11, 2015.

Celebrant offering garland to a Cow. Photo: Tilak Niroula
Celebrant offering garland to a Cow.
Photo: Sagar Khatiwoda

The Tihar that is celebrated for five days includes four days showing reverence towards animals like Crows, Dogs, Cows and Oxen who Hindus consider having very meaningful relationship with humans. On the fifth day- the festival ends with brothers receiving Teeka from their sisters.

Cows are considered holy or motherly animal. Hindus admire cow for her kindness and non-violent nature, which is also regarded as the basis of main teachings of Hinduism. Hindu Upanishads or Vedantas have very significantly compared cow with the mother earth. The third day of the Tihar has bigger meaning for the mankind. People feed cows with delicious foods, offer garlands and adorn with colorful dyes. This is considered showing gratitude for serving people of all walks of life with milk as an elixir.

The celebration in Concord was organized by Maintaining Independence Adult Day Services Inc. According to the organizer, more than 50 resettled Bhutanese adults attended and marked the festival.

Bhakti Maya Nepal, who is residing in Manchester since the last three years, appreciated United States being such a beautiful flower garden where  each culture and religion has equal respect. “I had never imagined such opportunities in the country like USA, while we were in the refugee camps in Nepal, that we are realistically doing today. I knew today that the United States is great for many reasons”, Bhakti Maya said. She became so overwhelmed and further said that, “I feel grateful to be the part of the celebration with all my fellow friends and relatives similar to what we used to do while back in our villages in Bhutan. I feel like I am in Bhutan.”

Celebrants preparing for the Puja. Photo: Tilak Niroula
Celebrants preparing for the Puja.
Photo: Tilak Niroula

 Likewise, another celebrant Puspa Lal Adhikari recalled the way they used celebrate ‘Cow Tihar’ in Bhutan with lots of merrymaking in the evening by dancing in groups, visiting neighbors sharing and wishing the blessings from goddess Laxmi- the Goddess of the wealth.

Those showing deep reverence towards motherly animal Cows  sip a drop or two of the cow’s urine as a part of belief in the purification process. The sacred Upanishads have defined cow’s urine being therapeutic in nature with divine healing properties.