Kathmandu, Aug 8 (IANS) The cow festival known as Gaijatra is being celebrated across the Kathmandu valley amid fanfare and humour on Tuesday.
The festival, on the first day of the waning moon in the month of Bhadra, is celebrated by the ethnic Newar community in three districts of the valley, Xinhua news agency reported.
The festival is celebrated by people to commemorate the family members who died in the past year by taking out processions.
People of all ages in the guise of cows and lunatics go around the city, wearing colourful costumes and accessories.
According to belief, the deceased, during their journey to heaven, crosses a legendary river by grabbing the tail of a cow.
Suresh Napit, 60, from Kathmandu, said: “My mother died recently and so I am commemorating her death by participating in the procession with my family members. The festival has been celebrated since long and we are continuing it.”
The festival originated in the 17th century during the reign of King Pratap Malla who, in a bid to console his queen, immersed in the pain after the death of their son, ordered his people to organise humour and satire programmes.
Besides processions, different musical instruments are also played on the streets.
On this day, people express their feelings towards social and political anomalies, human follies and other contemporary affairs by comic skits, cartoons and comedy shows.
During the festival, the bereaved families offer fruits, bread, beaten rice, curd and money to participants in the procession.
It is believed that doing so will lead to the dead person’s soul enjoying peace in the heaven.