Among the many colourful and vibrant religious celebrations in Nepal, there is one that is particularly close to our hearts: Kukur Tihar. Throughout the year dogs are treated with indifference or disdain by the majority of Nepalis. Although there are considerable exceptions to this rule, dogs do not hold the same position in Nepali society as they do in Western countries, where they are known asman’s best friend.
For one day this all changes. On the second day of Tihar (also called Diwali, of the festival of lights) dogs are worshiped and paid tribute to across the country. Although traditionally a Hindu festival, there are many overlaps in the religious festivals of Nepal, which is a very diverse and polyethnic country. Everyone celebrates Tihar, including Buddhists and Christians.
Tihar is special because it recognizes the importance of all living creatures and ties together human beings with gods and animals. At KAT Centre, we value this philosophy that sees humans as part of a world that is shared equally with animals – we see our position not as masters but as friends and equals. It is this philosophy that is making Kathmandu a kinder place for animals.