Friday, February 1, 2008

Gai Jatra

Gai Jatra (The procession of cows) is a festival celebrated in the Nepalese month of Bhadra (August-September). This festival of cow has its roots in the ancient age when people feared and worshipped the god of death, Yamaraj. Neverthless, the festival came into tradition in the medieval period of Nepal during the reign of Malla Kings. The root of this festival is the belief that the god of death, Yamaraj, must be feared and hence worshopped. Hence, the present form of Gai Jatra is a happy blending of antiquity and medievalism.

On the day, every family who has lost one relative during the past year participate in a procession through the streets of Kathmandu leading a cow. If a cow is unavailable then a young boy dressed as cow is considered a fair substitute. In Hinduism, a cow is regarded as the most venerated among all the domestic animals. It is believed that the cow, revered as a holy animal by Hindus, will help the deceased relative's journey to heaven.

There is a comical aspect to the festival. Humorous and satirical street shows of the people in power are performed in major towns of the country.

Many newspapers also publish special editions with humorous and satirical articles marking the Gaijatra festival.

In this festival, irregularities of the society are exposed through satirical means.


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