Kukur Tihar, the Nepalese holiday in which dogs are the real stars. Flowers, garlands and delicious food surround the dogs during the day that Nepalese reserve for them on the calendar.
In stark contrast to festivals like China's Yulin, where around 10,000 dogs are ruthlessly slaughtered to sell their meat, Kukur Tihar is a landmark.
It is celebrated on the second day of Tihar, during the Festival of Lights, which takes place in autumn.
Regardless of the origin of the dogs, or whether or not they have a family, the participants of this festival are in charge of pampering the dogs in great detail.
You may be wondering why that day. Well, here the Hindu tradition plays an essential role. According to this, the dogs transmit the message of Lord Yamarai, the God of death, who takes care of the gates of the afterlife.
The red markings on its forehead (or "Tika") are made of rice, yogurt and coloring, which represents that the dog is the object of devotion, as well as signifying a blessing for everyone who crosses its path.
What is the origin of Kukur Tihar?
It dates back thousands of years, when Prince Yudhisthira passed away, who ascended to heaven with his dog, but just before entering it. Indra, the God of Heaven, prevented him from entering with the animal. Yudhisthira resolutely refused to leave him and preferred to stay with his faithful dog, instead of entering the long-awaited paradise.
The dog, who had been by his side in good times and bad, was finally able to enter together with Yudhisthira, who managed to convince Indra. The dog was even turned into God.