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Tihar Festival, Maharajgunj, Nepal, 1977

Photo: Tihar Festival

On the third day of Tihar, the Nepalese festival of lights celebrated every autumn, a family honors the sacred cow. Kept for milk and dung, cows personify Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and are treated to fruit and grain on her day of honor. At midnight, Lakshmi circles the Earth to bless family money boxes and grain stores.

(Text adapted from and photograph shot on assignment for "Kathmandu's Remarkable Newars," February 1979, National Geographic magazine)

Photograph by John Scofield

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