TimberNook Camp: Diwali
Dates: October 16, 2017
Ages: all ages
Time: 9:30 am – 2:30 pm
Diwali, or Tihar, one of the great celebrations in the Hindu calendar, is a five-day autumn festival generally known as the festival of lights. Each day has its own focus, and specific observances vary from one denomination of Hinduism to another. Regardless of regional and denominational differences, Tihar is a period of gift-giving, storytelling, and recognition of the relationships humans have with all things.
Dogs are especially important to Nepal’s Hindu practitioners. During day two of Tihar, Kukur Tihar, the role of dogs in human life and throughout history is celebrated. In the Rigveda, one of Hinduism’s most ancient texts, Samara — the mother of dogs — assists Indra, the ruler of heaven, in retrieving stolen cattle. Hindu tradition holds that a dog is the guardian and messenger of Yama, the lord and judge of the dead. A dog is also said to guard the gates of the afterlife.
During Kukur Tihar, the mythological and real relationships between humans and dogs constitute the day’s major focus. A garland of flowers is draped around the neck of every dog; not only those with homes, but strays as well. This floral necklace, called a malla, is a mark of respect and dignity. It announces the wearer as important, and symbolizes the prayers that go with the dog. A red mark is applied to the forehead of each dog. In Nepal, this mark is called the tika, a paste made from abir — a red dye powder — along with rice and yogurt. The ornamentation marks the dog as both a devotee of the righteous path and as an object of devotion, imbuing the dog with an air of sacredness and acting as a blessing to those who encounter him or her.
Prayers and flowers are certainly nice, but as far as dogs are concerned, their favorite part of Kukur Tihar must be the food. Food offerings are put out for dogs in the home, as well as for strays in the streets. Depending on the celebrant, the dog’s treats may include milk, eggs, meat, or high-quality dog food. This is a day when dogs have the best of everything.
Celebrate Tihar 2017 with the University of Doglando and some of Doglando’s dogs (no private pets, please). Children will make garlands, color the dogs and each other, and pose for photos if desired. Then we will make a feast for ourselves and the dogs. Kids will also get plenty of time to learn about the natural world, design, create, cook over an open fire, and play for hours in the woods with friends. Forest school has never been more exciting!
Please be sure to fill out our registration form with your camper’s name, age, allergy and medical info!
(Tihar article source, photos: dogster.com)