Oct. 23: Yamapanchak began on Saturday with Dhanteras. As the name ‘Panchak’, better known as Tihar, is generally celebrated for five days. It is from the 13th day of the dark fortnight of the Nepali month of Kartik to the second day of the bright fortnight.
It is six-day Deepawali this year when Kukur Tihar and Laxmi Puja have fallen on the same day. “Unfortunately, this is what happens with lunar calendars,” said priest Madhav Chalise. He explained that our occasions are determined by the waxing and waning of the moon – traditionally called Tithis – which do not neatly fit into our midnight-to-midnight 24-hour calculation of days. “Sometimes, the same Tithi spans multiple calendar days while other times, more than one Tithi falls on the same day.” They happen regularly but we only notice them when they mess with our festivals,” he said.
Govardhan Puja and Laxmi Puja do not follow each other, as they usually do, and instead have a gap day between them. According to an astrologer Bheem Joshi, Laxmi Puja can only be performed on a new moon day. He said, “The Aunsi (new moon) begins at around 5 pm on Monday and ends at around 4.30 pm on Tuesday.
The other two main days of Tihar – Govardhan Puja and Bhai Tika – are not affected. Hence, they can be celebrated on their usual days, that is, Govardhan Puja on Pratipada and Bhai Tika on Dwitiya. Aside from Gai (cow) Puja in the morning, Tuesday is vacant.