GAI JATRA

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GAI JATRA

Gai Jatra, the festival of cow, celebrated in Nepal on 11 August, 2014. It is a festival celebrated by the Newar community in Nepal. Both the Hindu and Buddhist Newars celebrate Gai Jatra. The tradition is that the families that have lost their family members in the past years organize Gai Jatra, a march of cows in which the relatives of the host family and neighbors participate. The Jatra rally supposed to be led by a cow, due to the lack of cows these days in the city areas, a young boy dressed as cow can replace a cow and leads the Jatra.

Gai Jatra is a festival to pay tribute to dead people and cow, worshiped as goddess Laxmi, is a holy animal of Hindus. The Jatra procession led by the cow is believed to be a journey of the departed soul to heaven.

People that participate in Gai Jatra make jokes and mockery and funny dance and performance which are now like a tradition. King Pratap Malla and his wife lost their son. Despite his all efforts, the King could not make his wife happy and reduce her pain of losing son. Then, he announced a reward for one who could make the queen laugh. It is believed that people made the queen laugh through their ridiculing performances and jokes on the important people of the palace and society. Since, the King developed Gai Jatra as a tradition allowing a comical attack and jokes at high profile people and the society and its practices and systems.

The first part of Gai Jatra celebration is sad as the host family and their relatives cry in the memory of dead family member. But after the procession comes back to the host family, the second part of the festival includes different funny songs and dances, jokes and mockery until late afternnon. Thus, Gai Jatra is a festival of both grief and joy that facilitates to make people to accept the death as a reality of life.


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