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6 festivals that celebrate animals

By: Mary Jo DiLonardo on Aug. 10, 2016, 7:32 a.m.
dogs in Festival of Dogs, Nepal

Photo: Prakash Mathema/Getty Images

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Diwali Festival of Dogs

Dogs in India are honored each fall as part of the Hindu festival of Diwali or Festival of Lights. Specifically in Nepal, one day of the celebration is devoted to dogs, called Kukur Tihar. On that day, pet dogs and strays alike are given treats, decorated with marigold flower garlands and are smeared with vermillion on their heads as a sign of their sacredness. It's customary during the celebration for people to offer blessings to their dogs which are, according to Hindu tradition, the messenger of Yamaraj, the god of death and the guardians of the gates of the afterlife.