Special Day of Diwali Celebrates Dogs

Dogs hold the place of honor during Nepal's Kukur Tihar. (Photo: Ashley Whitworth/Shutterstock)

Every year, millions of Hindus around the world celebrate Diwali, or the Festival of Lights. The holiday signifies the victory of good over evil with preparations and celebrations that typically last five days. In Nepal, one day of the festivities is set aside to celebrate the relationship that humans have with their canine friends.

Over the five-day celebration, Hindus give gifts and tell stories. But on the second day, it all goes to the dogs. It's called Kukur Tihar, or Swanti in the Newar region of Nepal. And it's a day to pay homage to dogs and their loyal companionship.

On this day, dogs are given garlands, a mark on the forehead called tika and all of the delicious food they can eat. Canine companions are also anointed with a red powder on their heads as a sign of their sacredness.

A dog receives its garland after being topped with red powder during the Tihar festival
The red powder marks the dogs as objects of devotion. (Photo: Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images)
Dogs celebrate the Tihar festival
A garland of flowers is draped around the neck of every dog during Kukur Tihar; not only those animals that are pets, but stray dogs, too. (Photo: Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images)
Police dogs are topped with flowers during the Tihar festival
Dogs are showered with love, affection, food and flowers during Kukur Tihar. (Photo: Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images)

And the best part is that all dogs are given the royal treatment — pets and strays alike. On Kukur Tihar, Nepal goes completely to the dogs. And dog lovers around the world celebrate.

Here's a video of 5-year-old Labrador Zazu taking part in the tradition: