Laxmi Puja -The Third day of Diwali
The third and one of the most important days of the whole Tihar festival is ‘Gai Tihar’ Or, ‘Laxmi Puja’ Or, ‘Deepawali’.
The day starts with the worshipping of Cow which is a holy animal for Hindus. Cows are decorated with the paint made of rice flour, aabir/kumkum (red vermillion) and water; and marigold garland. There is a legend surrounding the role of the cow in the afterlife of human beings. People believe that one can pass the ‘bridge of testimony-Baitarani’ for afterlife by hanging on the tails of cows they worshipped. So, on this day, most of the people tie the sacred thread worn in a month ago festival, Janai Purnima’ in the tail of Cow hoping they can easily go to the afterlife.
The afternoon and evening of this day has the main attraction of the whole Deepawali Festival, as every household is adorned with marigold garland in windows and doors (main entrance). The pavements that lead to the main entrance and the way up to the Puja Kotha (worship room) is marked like a red carpet, believed to be the path which Goddess Laxmi(Goddess of Wealth) takes while entering the house. In front of every house people make rangoli or mandala (decoration with colors). Similarly, the whole house is lightened up to welcome Goddess Laxmi and people worship, sing bhajans and pray for the blessing of Goddess over the house and every family member.
The night of the Laxmi Puja is even more important, and fun filled with activities like lighting up fireworks, firecrackers, participating in Deusi/Bhailo, feasting, and playing cards. This day, every age group indulge in their own activities; children lights firecrackers; girls and woman play ‘Bhailo’ where they go from house to house chanting folklore, singing songs, they are offered foods, fruits, sweets, and money by the respective house owner, upon receiving these items they in return give blessings to houseowner for wealth and prosperity in coming years. Whereas the elderly people and Men watch over the house and play cards.