Festival of Gaijatra (Photo Feature)
The traditional festival of Gaijatra or the ‘cow festival’ is being observed starting today in three cities of Kathmandu Valley and some other places in the country amidst much fun, gaiety, humor, satire, and entertainment.
The festival, beginning on the first day of the waning moon in the month of Bhadra (Bhadra Pratiprada) as per the lunar calendar, lasts for a week. During this time-honored tradition, people of all ages in the guise of cows and lunatics go around the city, wearing odd costumes to commemorate those who died during the past one year. The bereaved families offer fruits, bread, beaten rice, curd, and money to those participating in the procession including the cows.
This festival is believed to have started during the time of King Pratap Malla, who, in a bid to console his queen, grieved at the death of her son in a smallpox epidemic and ordered his people to organize humour and satire programmes in various comic postures. This tradition continued in the form of the Gaijatra festival during which people also vent out their feelings towards social and political anomalies, human follies and other contemporary affairs through comic skits, cartoons, and the like.
The government has announced a public holiday today. Apart from the Valley, the festival is also observed in Banepa, Dhulikhel, Trishuli, Dolakha, Khotang, Bhojpur, Chainpur, Ilam, Dharan, Biratnagar, Birgunj, Bahrabise, Hetauda and Pokhara.