(English) Festival of satire begins nationwide

File photo: Nepal Mountain Focus
File photo: Nepal Mountain Focus

KATHMANDU, Nepal-The traditional festival Gaijatra or ´the festival of cow ´ is being marked nationwide amid fun, humor, satire and entertainment, Monday. The festival, beginning on the first day of the waning moon in the month of Bhadra as per the lunar calendar, lasts for a week.

During this time-honored tradition, people of all ages in the guise of cows  and odd attires marches around the city to commemorate those who died during the past year.

Family members of those who died during the year offer bread, beaten rice, fruits, curd and money to those taking part in the procession taking the cows in the nook and hook of the city. According to religious scriptures, ‘gai’ or ‘cow’ guides and protects the spirit of the deceased soul along the dangerous journey to Patal (the Underworld) where the ‘God of Death’ determines at what level the souls of the deceased should be reincarnated.

The myth of Gai Jatra festival has its roots in the ancient age when people feared and adored Yamaraj also”the God of death”. However, the ironical sessions synonymous with the Gai Jatra festival came into tradition in the medieval period of Nepal during the reign of Malla Kings.

This festival is believed to have started during the reign of King Pratap Malla, who, in a bid to soothe his queen, much grieved at the death of her son in a smallpox epidemic, ordered his people to organize humour and satire programmes in various comic postures.

The government has announced public holiday in the three districts of Kathmandu valley on the occasion.

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