KATHMANDU – Hindus in Nepal marked the day of the cow by worshiping the bovines on Wednesday, day three of the Tihar festival, or Diwali, the country’s second-most important religious festival.
During Gai Tihar people worship cows, which are considered to be the incarnation of Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity.
Across Nepal, devotees garlanded cows with marigold flowers and offered them food, he added.
Gai puja falls on the third day of the five-day Tihar festival, which celebrates not just human-divine but also human-animal relationships.
Apart from cows, considered a sacred animal by Hindus, dogs, crows and oxen are also celebrated during the festival.
On Wednesday evening, devotees will also worship the idols of goddess Laxmi at home, with prayers and offerings.
Hindus believe that during Tihar, the goddess will visit their homes if they are lit, clean and beautifully decorated.
To welcome the goddess, homes are cleaned and lit up with fairy lights and earthen lamps, and decorated with flowers.
Bright rangolis – colorful, intricate designs often drawn with rice flour or colors – light up entrances to homes and offices.
Gambling, especially card games, is also a popular part of the festivities and considered auspicious.