A brief history of Gaijatra
Gaijatra- The festival of cows is celebrated at many places of Nepal but mainly among the Newar and Tharu community in Kathmandu Valley. The festival is celebrated in the memory of relatives who are dead and no more with family and to ease the pain of their memories. The etymological meaning of the Gaijatra means the festival of cow where ‘Gai’ means cow and ‘Jatra’ means festival. The procession of cows, generally falls in the month of Bhadra, which correspond to English calendar months of August/September.The celebration of Gai Jatra came into existence in the medieval period of Nepal during the reign of Malla Kings. The present form of Gai Jatra with humorous acts, parody, comedy and was started by then King of Kathmandu Pratap Malla.Every family who hav lost their relatives during the preceding year must participate in a procession through the streets of Kathmandu leading a cow.
If a cow is unavailable then a young kids dressed as cow is considered a fair substitute. The family walks behind the cow considering it as a leader and kids wear different types of costumes to look different or become different types of religious characters.After the procession, in the afternoon, everyone takes part in another tradition in which the participants dress up and wear masks. The people enjoy the moments with songs, jokes, mockery and humors until late evening