6 Awesome Dog Festivals That You Don’t Want To Miss!

Kukur Tihar - dog festival

As the festive season begins so does the troubles of our furry friends, from shrill noise to smoke in the air. How good would it be to have festivals that look into the well-being of animals as well? Every dog has his day, so why not have dog festivals?

After all, festivities should mean happiness for every creature. Here is the definitive list of awesome dog festivals where dogs are celebrated for the heroes that they are!

Dog festivals

 1. Kukur Tihar

Kukur Tihar, Nepal dogs

Tihar is a Nepali Hindu festival celebrated in autumn every year. The first day called Kaag Tihar sees food arrayed on the roofs as offerings to the crows. On the second day i.e. Kukur Tihar, dogs are revered in all of their aspects: as guardians, companions, and friends.

During Kukur Tihar, the mythological (as guards to the gates of Heaven) and real relationships between humans and dogs constitute the day’s major focus.

The dogs are worshiped and revered during the annual autumn festival of Kukur Tihar.

A garland of flowers is draped around the neck of the dogs and a mark, tika, made from a red dye powder — along with rice and curd is applied to the forehead of each dog, those with home, and the strays as well.

 2. Blessing of Animals 

Each year on October 4, the dogs and donkeys, cats and canary, hamsters and horses, are led to churches for a special ceremony called the Blessing of Animals. This custom is conducted in remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi’s love for all creatures. Devotees get their pets blessed in the spirit of this patron saint of animals and ecology. The tradition of blessing animals is linked to the fact that St. Anthony the Abbot was a saint who had a special relationship with nature, and hence the animals.

animal blessing holy water
Devotees getting their pets blessed with holy water at Saint Francis Church, Peru,. ~Image Enrique Castro

Here are two of the Franciscan Animal Blessings:

A. For All Animals
Blessed are you, Lord God,
maker of all living creatures.
On the fifth and sixth days of creation,
you called forth fish in the sea,
birds in the air, and animals on the land.
You inspired St. Francis to call all animals
his brothers and sisters.
We ask you to bless this animal.
By the power of your love,
enable [him or her] to live according to your plan.
May we always praise you
for all your beauty in creation.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures! Amen.

B. For a Sick Animal
Heavenly Father,
you created all things for your glory
and made us stewards of this creature.
If it is your will, restore [him or her] to health and strength.
Blessed are you, Lord God,
and holy is your name forever and ever. Amen.

In addition to the above two festivals which have religious undertones, here are four more festivals combining dogs, fanfare and music!

 3. Dog Day Festival 

Over 7000 dog lovers travel to the middle of Tennessee for the Dog Day Festival. Organized by the Nashville Humane Organization, this one-day event offers Live music, fashion, pampering, health, and training clinics with so much more!

The Dog Day Festival kicks off with the dog walk fundraiser. The event also features dog training classes, dog adoptions, contests with wacky awards such as “Waggliest Tail” and “Best Bark”.

See also: World Dog Day!

4. Woof-Stock

This annual Toronto festival showcases dogs and their sensational tricks, pug racing, etc. This free event is there for visiting!

pug racing woodstock

 5. Aloha Pet Festival 

The island paradise of Hawaii, make no bones about stopping by the Aloha Pet Festival in Honolulu. Talented pooches can try their hand (or paws) at the pet costume and trick contests. Dogs can indulge in delicious delicacies from over 13 food trucks and vendors at Bow Wow Brunch.


6. Dogapalooza

 This Australian festival is a dog-friendly music spectacle held in Melbourne, Australia.

dogapalooza Melbourne music festival dogs

Aimed at raising money for animal rights organisations, the event is held in September. It’s a charity concert event against animal cruelty and which raises money for Melbourne-based animal advocacy organisations. The inspiration is simple,” says festival director, Abby Gee. “We’re trying to save the lives of ex-puppy farm and abandoned pound dogs.”


7. Ugly dog contest

First things first, we know there are no ugly dogs. Petaluma, California hosts an annual World’s Ugliest Dog Contest, the organizers of the event declare this is all about a dog’s inner beauty that makes them so special.  They also offer a cash prize for the “Ugliest Dog”.

8. Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade

Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade

For over 29 years, The Village Halloween Parade in New York City celebrates dogs in adorable or at times ‘scary’ costumes, bringing joy and mirth to the onlookers!

Know of any other dog festivals that celebrate the pooches? Please let us know in the comments below.

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