KATHMANDU, August 27: The traditional festival Gaijatra (cow festival) is being celebrated today in memory of the deceased member of their family.
The festival is mainly celebrated in Kathmandu valley by the Newar community. According to the lunar Nepal Era calendar, the festival falls on the first day of the dark fortnight of Gunla in the month of Bhadra (August-September).
In the festival, people of all ages in the guise of cows and lunatics take part, wearing strange costumes 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 including the cows.
The then King of the Malla dynasty, Pratap Malla started the festival to show the pain of demise of the one nearest and dearest when wife of King Pratap Malla lamented over the death of her son.
The festival is mainly celebrated in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur district organizing different drama, dance and satire related programs. Apart from Kathmandu Valley, the festival is also observed in Banepa, Dhulikhel, Trishuli, Dolakha, Khotang, Bhojpur, Chainpur, Ilam, Dharan, Biratnagar, Birgunj, Hetauda and Pokhara.
Photo: Mukunda Kalikote