Gaijatra festival being observed today

KATHMANDU: Denizens of Kathmandu Valley are celebrating the traditional festival of Gaijatra, also known as cow festival, in memory of the demised members of their families.

According to the lunar calendar, the festival falls on the first day of the waning moon on Bhadra Shukla Pratipada.

In the festival, family members of people who had died in the past one year take out a rally dressed in the attire of a cow, wearing strange costumes with peculiar appearance to commemorate the deceased.

The bereaved families offer fruits, bread, beaten rice, curd and money to those participating in the procession including the cows. The festival is celebrated mainly by the Newar and Tharu communities

As the saying goes, the festival derives its name from the religious belief that the deceased, during their journey to heaven, crosses a legendary river by grabbing the tail of a cow.

People throng in and around different parts of the Kathmandu Valley to mark the festival.

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.

He wanted to show the pain of others to his wife then he made the arrangements of showing such grief fair to share the pain.

The festival is mainly celebrated in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur districts organising dance, drama and different satire related programmes.