Gai Jatra, the festival of cows, is celebrated in the Nepali month of Bhadra (August-September). Last year it fell on August 22, and this year it’s on August 11 (added for this year). The festival is observed in the Kathmandu valley, especially by the Newar community.
At this festival, people commemorate the souls of the dead who took off during the past one year. On the streets, one can see cows and kids decorated proceeding while adults playing traditional musical instruments. Cows are used at Gai Jatra because it is commonly believed that cows help the deceased to ascend to heaven without any problem.
According to historical evidence, the medieval king Pratap Malla started the festival. His wife was grief-stricken after their son’s immature death. He wanted to show her that she was not alone who had lost a family member and make her happy again.
Another specialty of Gai Jatra is comedy shows and dramas are held mocking the government and famous people of the society. We get to see performances by popular Nepalese comic artistes. Most people’s eyes are on Basantapur on this day, if not the streets of Kathmandu.
Learn more about other festivals celebrated in Nepal:
- Dashain and Tihar (Greatest festival of Nepalese)
- Saraswati Puja- The day for the diety of knowledge, art and music
- Maha Shivaratri- The Night of Lord Shiva
- What you need to know about Tihar?
- The Great Hindu Festival “Teej”
- Festival of Nepal- Indra Jatra
- Sonam Lhosar:The Festival of Tamang
- Tamu Lhosar: The greatest festival of Gurung