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Nepal’s Dog Festival: All You Need to Know about Kukur Tihar

dog festival in Nepal

In the heart of Nepal, amidst the vibrant hues of marigold garlands and the application of auspicious vermilion paint, dogs take center stage during the five-day Hindu festival of Tihar. The second day, known as Kukur Tihar, transcends mere festivity – it’s a profound acknowledgment of the revered role dogs play in the lives of the Nepalese.

The Divine Connection: Dogs as Messengers of Yamaraj

According to Hindu belief, dogs serve as messengers of Yamaraj, the God of Death. By dedicating a day to celebrating and blessing these loyal companions, devotees aim to appease Yamaraj himself. It’s not just a cultural tradition; it’s a recognition of the divine bond between humans and canines.

From Beloved Pets to Honored Strays

Kukur Tihar doesn’t discriminate. It extends its benevolence to both cherished pets and stray dogs alike. As families adorn their beloved pets with marigold garlands, even stray dogs receive the honor they deserve on this auspicious day.

A Feast Fit for Canine Royalty

The festivities aren’t just symbolic; they include a delectable feast for the furry friends. From succulent meats and nutritious eggs to wholesome dog food, the treats bestowed upon dogs during Kukur Tihar reflect the gratitude and love showered upon them.

The Global Ripple Effect: Kukur Tihar Beyond Nepal

Mexico’s Inspired Celebration

Nepal’s Kukur Tihar has transcended borders, inspiring similar celebrations globally. In 2016, Mexico embraced the spirit of honoring dogs with an annual celebration, drawing parallels to Nepal’s heartfelt tradition. The global recognition of Kukur Tihar underscores its significance and the universal love for our canine companions.

A Special Salute: Armed Forces Honor Dogs

In a touching display of appreciation, the Armed Police Force holds a special ritual to honor and worship their canine counterparts. These loyal dogs, often at the forefront during natural disasters and critical in detecting explosives and drugs, receive the recognition they deserve. Ramesh Pokharel, chief of the Animal Health and Dog Handler section, emphasizes the joy security personnel feel in celebrating these indispensable canine heroes.

As Kukur Tihar brings joy, it also serves as a reminder. Animal welfare groups stress that the special treatment bestowed upon dogs during this festival should extend beyond a single day. Inhumane practices, such as poisoning street dogs to control populations or prevent rabies, draw criticism. Kukur Tihar sparks a conversation on the need for continuous compassion and care for our four-legged friends.


In the tapestry of Nepal’s rich cultural heritage, Kukur Tihar stands out as a vibrant celebration of the profound bond between humans and dogs. From the divine symbolism of Yamaraj’s messengers to the inclusive festivities encompassing pets and strays alike, this festival embodies the spirit of gratitude and love for our canine companions. As the marigold garlands adorn dogs and the aroma of festive treats fills the air, Kukur Tihar emerges not just as a ritual but as a testament to the enduring majesty of every dog’s day.

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