It is very interesting reading about the role dogs play in various religions. Here some details about dogs in Hinduism, mainly during the Tihar festival that falls roughly in November every year.
- During the Nepalese Tihar Festival, on Day Two: On the second day of Tihar, Kukur (Dogs) are adorned with flower garlands, red tika on their forehead, and are offered food, they are the king of the day! On this day, people pray to the Kukur to guard their homes. There are lots of stray Kukur, but on this day, even the most unsightly Kukur will be treated like a king, every dog has a day. Tihar is also about breaking the boundaries only men created, “The Good”, “The Bad”, “The Ugly”! In Hinduism it is believed that Kukur guards the underworld empire.
Shepherd Chature with garland
Dogs have a major religious significance among the Hindu in Nepal and some parts of India. . In Hinduism, it is believed that the dog is a messenger of Yama, the angel of death, and dogs guard the doors of Heaven. Socially, they are believed to the protectors of our homes and lives. So, in order to please the dogs they are going to meet at Heaven’s doors after death, so they would be allowed in Heaven, people mark the 14th day of the lunar cycle in November as Kukur-tihar, as known in Nepali language for the dog’s day. This is a day when the dog is worshipped by applying tika (the holy vermilion dot), incense sticks and garlanded generally with marigold flower.
” A dog plays many roles in our society. We have dogs in our houses as guardian of the house. As the legend also says that there is a dog at yama’s gate guarding the gate to the underworld. The dog is also the steed of the fearful Bhairab, the god of destruction. So on this day a big red tika is put on a dog’s forehead and a beautiful garland around the neck. After worshipping the dog, it is given very delicious meal. This day the saying ‘every dog has his day’ comes true; for even a stray dog is looked upon with respect. We pray to the dog to guard our house as he guards the gate of the underworld and to divert destruction away from our homes. On this day you can see dogs running around with garlands on their neck.” (Festivals of Nepal)
So, at least for one day, dogs have a good life in Nepal…