15 November 2020, Kathmandu
Gai or Cow Puja, Goru Puja or ox worship and Govardan Puja are being observed throughout the country today on the fourth day of the five-day-long Tihar festival celebrated by the Hindus in the country.
The cow is worshiped as per the religious belief that we get love from her like a mother. The cow milk, urine and dung are all sacred, hence the cow is worshiped, said Nepal Calendar Determination Committee Chair Prof Dr Ram Chandra Gautam.
The day today is also locally called Gai Tihar. The cow is garlanded and fed various delicacies.
Meanwhile, the Govardhan Puja rituals are being observed today with the replicas of the Govardhan Mountain made out of the cow dung. People prepare a mixture of the cow dung and ochre formed into a paste and apply on the courtyard of their homes and on the floors today.
The rituals are linked to the Hindu God Sri Krishna who, according to the legend, lifted the Govardhan Mountain by his hand and protected the people of a place called Gokul from torrential rains caused by Indra, the God of rain.
It is believed that the rain God was angered and thereby caused the heavy downpour.
Similarly, the ox is also worshipped today as it is a very useful animal in different agricultural works in Nepal which is a predominantly agricultural society.
Similarly, Mha Puja is celebrated on the fourth day of Tihar by Newar Community.
It also falls on the Newari New Year which is based in the Newar calendar, Nepal Sambat. Mha Puja literally refers to self-worship, making offering to one’s body.