Festival of Cow: Gai Jatra

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We are “Always Decorating Moments Alive”.

We, Nepali are rich in our culture and traditions. We have festivals throughout the year, celebrated by people of different caste. We respect every religion.

Gai Jatra is one of the famous festivals celebrated in Kathmandu Valley by Hindus (Newar) during the month of August and September.

“Gai” means Cows and “Jatra” means festival in Nepali. A healthy and fun-filled festival.

WHY IS GAI JATRA CELEBRATED? – The story behind this is fascinating.

According to Hinduism- “Whatever a man does in his life is a preparation leading to a good life after death”. This is one sublime festival that makes us ready for life and after death.

The history of Nepal, when the King Pratap Malla lost his son, his wife, the queen, remained grief-stricken. He seriously wanted to see a little smile on the face of queen, and so he announced that anyone who made the queen laugh would be rewarded adequately.

Then, the cow procession was brought before the grief-stricken queen. People started ridiculing and be-fooling the important people of the society. This could not stop, the queen smiling. The queen laughed and the king instituted a tradition of including jokes, satire, mockery and lampoon into the Gaijatra celebration.

Traditionally, now the celebration began with the cows or the young boy being made as a cow from every family who has lost the relative during the previous year march towards the street and they also distribute foods. The belief behind this – Cow is believed as a holy animal by Hindus and will help the deceased relative’s journey to heaven.

The festival does not end here…


Gai Jatra Celbration in Kathmandu. (L) a boy being a Gai and (R) a Jogi

In every Newari community, people participate wearing different dressed and masks and play jokes, mockery and humor of every kind until late evenings.

Even if you are not a NEWAR, do go to watch this festival. It is no less fun and worth of spending your day.

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