Gai Jatra is a carnival of dancing, singing, mirth and laughter. The festival of cow is celebrated in the Kathmandu Valley to commemorate the death of loved ones. As part of the festival, family members of the deceased of the past year send people dressed as cows to parade on the streets.
This festival falls on the first day of the waning moon in the month of the Bhadra(July/August), according to the lunar calendar. Kathmandu inhabitants celebrated Gaijatra with much gusto yesterday.
The festival was initiated by then King Pratap Malla to console his wife who was grieving over the death of her son. LGBTs also participate in the Gaijatra festival every year as a symbolic fight for equal rights, freedom and social justice.
Brief History of Gai Jatra(Source:Here)
Cow is considered the symbol of Earth in Hinduism. It is revered deeply in Hinduism. During King Pratap Malla’s reign 1641 – 1664 , his family was struck by a deep sorrow when their son died. Consoling his wife seemed impossible for the king and distressed by his wife’s sorrow, King offered a reward to anyone who could make his wife smile again.
During Gai Jatra Festival celebrated that year, the cow procession passing by the window of 33 virtues in Kathmandu Durbar square, a group of boisterous performers shocked everyone. The group began ridiculing and mocking the rich, members of high society. While at the same time they highlighted the plight of the poor. They then showed the injustices within society with no mercy spared.
This made queen erupt into laughter.
King Pratap Malla then ordered that laughter, jokes, satire and mockery should be included in the Gai Jatra festival from then on. Tradition then took foot and people who lost a family during the year would take part in the festival by leading a cow along the precession. If no cow is available then a young boy is used as a substitute.
Some Glimpses of Gaijatra 2016