Dogs are festooned with vermillion pigment and flowers

Photo: Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images

Blessing of the canines

Nepalese police dogs wear marigold garlands and vermillion pigment on Nov. 13 during the local Tihar festival in Kathmandu. Tihar is the Nepalese equivalent of Diwali, an important five-day festival celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs and Arya Samajists. Each day of the festival is dedicated to different religious figures including cow, crow and dog, which signifies the relationship between human beings, god and animals.

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Nepalese officers festoon dogs with vermillion pigment and flowers

Photo: Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images

Honoring the messengers

Nepalese police officers festoon dogs for the special occassion. During different days of the festival, it is customary for people to offer blessings to each animal. Crows, which are considered the messengers of Yamaraj, the god of death, are celebrated on the first day. The second day of Tihar is dedicated to dogs, and typically a Hindu will celebrate these loyal creatures, feeding them treats and taking breakfast only after the dogs have finished.

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