Nepal just celebrated a puppy-filled afternoon as part of their annual Kukur Tihar festival, and the pictures are a must-see for dog lovers.

By Melissa Locker
November 11, 2015
Credit: Xinhua News Agency

Diwali, or the festival of lights, is a five-day celebration in the Hindu calendar. Each day of the holiday has its own focus—crows, cows, siblings, and the goddess of wealth each get a day depending on the denomination of Hinduism to which you ascribe. In Nepal, Diwali is called Tihar and the second day of their festivities, Kukur Tihar, is dedicated to thanking dogs for their friendship and service.

Credit: Xinhua News Agency

Dogs have long held a special place in Hindu culture. In the ancient text of the Mahabharata, the great king, Yudhishthira, refused to enter heaven without his devoted dog. Presumably that means that all dogs go to heaven in Hindu lore, as they should. Dogs are also believed to be messengers of Lord Yamaraj, the God of Death and can even see danger coming.

To recognize and honor dogs during Tihar, a garland of flowers is draped around the neck of every dog—pets, police canines, service animals, and strays alike.

Credit: Xinhua News Agency

In addition to the flower necklace, each dog gets a red mark on its forehead called a tika, made from a red dye powder. The tika marks the dog as a sacred being (who is definitely allowed on the couch even with muddy paws). The tika also works as a way of letting dogs display their own appreciation as the mark serves as a blessing to anyone who encounters the dog during Tihar.

Credit: Pacific Press