Sep 7, 2011

Gai Jatra (Cow Festival) @ Kathmandu, Nepal

locals enjoying a view of the festival

We were indeed very lucky to be in Kathmandu during one of the important festivals of Nepal.

Gai Jatra or Cow Festival is normally celebrated in Nepal during the month of August or September. The festival itself is full of humor, mockery, satire but not without sadness at the same time. Gai Jatra is a festival whereby the family 'celebrate' the passing of their loved ones during the year. During this day, those who had lost someone close during the year will come out to the streets to take part in a procession which lead by a cow or someone dress like a cow. For Hindus, the cow is a holy animal which they believe will help their loved ones to cross over to heaven. It was said the festival is the idea of the Nepal king, King Pratap after seeing his wife sadden over the death of their son.

Since we were scheduled to go to Bhaktapur on the day of the festival, we decided to leave early to join the crowd. It was a feast of colours and culture during the parade with lots of tourists and locals coming out together to celebrate the day. We saw lots of dance, locals donned in masks and colourful dresses as well as young children participating.

boy and girl goddess dressup

photographers in action
a girl enjoying the sights and sound
the locals enjoying the festival
A woman's prayer

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