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Gaijatra observed in memory of the departed souls (Photo Feature)



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Gaijatra observed in memory of the departed souls. (Photo: Sagar/TRN)

By TRN Online, Kathmandu, Aug. 4: The traditional festival of Gaijatra or the ‘cow festival’ is being observed today, Tuesday, in the three cities of the Kathamndu Valley and other places. The festival is celebrated by the Newar community in Kathmandu, Patan, Kritipur, Bhaktapur and other areas.

It begins on the first day of the waxing moon in the month of Saun and Bhadra as per the lunar calendar and 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 customs to commemorate those who died during the past year. The bereaved families offer fruits, bread, beaten rice, curd and money to those participating in the procession.

The festival is believed to have started during the reign of King Pratap Malla, who started it in a bid to console his queen much grieved at the death of her son in a smallpox epidemic. He ordered his people to organise humour and satire programmes in various comic postures as part of the festival.

The tradition has been continued in the form of the Gaijatra festival during which people also give vent to pent up feelings towards social and political anomalies, human follies and other contemporary affairs through comic skits, cartoons and the like. Newspapers and magazines also bring out special humour and satire supplements to mark the occasion.

Photos: Sagar/ TRN