Nepal’s tradition of honoring dogs at Kukur Tihar has been taken around the world by a collective of Mexican animal rights groups that have started celebrating the festival too.
Last week, after Nepal worshipped its dogs, Mexicans brought out their pets in the Mexico City’s Revolution Square and in Puerto Vallarta, garlanding and smearing vermilion on them just like in Nepal.
Kukur Tihar celebrations were started in Mexico in 2016, and was inspired by the Nepali festival to spread awareness there about the respect humans owe to all animals. Since then, the festival has gained popularity, and dogs have been singled out for the special honor.
“It is important to raise awareness among the population about the respect we owe dogs, ”organizer of the annual festival Martha Dau told the El Universal newspaper, “we are convinced that a human being who does not hurt an animal will hardly hurt a human being.”
Dogs garlanded with marigold, and smeared with red powder could be seen with their owners in Puerto Vallarta at two events last week.
Anemio Maya of the Organización Properro said the festival was inspired by Kukur Tihar in Nepal in which dogs are worshipped because they are messengers of Yamaraj, the God of Death. “We hope that this celebration will spread throughout Mexico to raise awareness about the abandonment suffered by dogs and create a feeling of gratitude that is so necessary,” Maya added.
Owners fed dogs their favorite treats and played with pets on Kukur Tihar celebrations which included colorful drapes, banners and even rangoli adorning the celebration grounds at Hotel Puerto de Luna in Puerto Vallarta, creating a vivacious ambiance that defines Tihar.