The Gaijatra Festival
The word ‘Gaijatra’ is the combination word of two Nepali words, ‘Gai’ means ‘cow’ and ‘Jatra’ means festival. Consequently, it is also known as the ‘cow festival’. Gaijatra Festival, falling on the first day of the ‘dark’ fortnight called Gunla, according to the Lunar Calendar of Nepal in Aug-Sep. It is one of the widely celebrated festivals, in Kathmandu valley. You may say this is the most popular festival in Nepal. In this festival, the Newar people who lost their family members/relatives during the past year participate in a procession with cows or young boys as a cow through the streets of Kathmandu, Patan, Bhaktapur and other cities of Nepal wherever Newar communities stay. Believed the deceased ones get help grabbing the tails of a cow in crossing a holy river on the way to heaven.
Story Of Gaijatra
The legend says, Gaijatra festival began when King Pratap Malla, who reigned over the Kathmandu in the middle of 17th Century, tragically lost his son. During the medieval period of Nepal, to console his grief-stricken queen who lost her beloved son, the famous king Pratap Malla asked his people to organize the cow festival. Following the order of the king, his people organized the cow festival. Since the cow procession and mockery with the humor of all kinds were shown to the distressing queen, finally the queen understood that there were a lot of other people who were suffering from the similar grieve like herself and felt the reality of death too. It was believed that people organized humorous and satire programs to console and create a little smile on the lip of their deep gloominess queen. The tears of the queen turn to the laughter.
There is a tradition now continuing to bring out funny jokes and satire organizing special program towards high-ranking people of the country. It is a special time to satire them and to make realize their mistake by applying the trick of laughter and fun. Big crowd in the street enjoy observing the performance of the famous comedians. Daily newspapers and magazines also published the satire articles and cartoons against the political and social figures injustice as a free day. People in procession put on unusual costumes, use masks and makeup with colorful painting paint on their faces creating the environment joyfulness. Musicians play music instruments and singers sing comedy and satire songs and dancers give their best funny dance performances to make the crowd laughter as far as possible.