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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Gai Jatra : How it all began

Gai Jatra : How it all began
It is said that the custom of celebrating Gai Jatra started when King Pratap Malla lost his son and his wife was grief stricken. So, as a way to console his wife, it was decided that one person from every household in which a death had occurred in the year should come before the queen. And seeing so many others who had undergone the same circumstances and pain, it lessened her pain as she realized that she was not the only one living with that sorrow. Since then the tradition of celebrating Gai Jatra started.
Gai Jatra : How it all beganOn this day people who have lost a family member in the previous year, bring out a procession on the streets. It is usually led by a cow; the belief is that this holy animal will guide the departed souls to reach heaven. On this day, young boys clad in traditional attire, some dressed in saris, and some dressed as cows wearing elaborate head gear, go around the city receiving offerings from people.
Joining them in the procession are weirdly dressed people who make quite a sight. The festivities are held in all the three towns of the Valley but the most elaborate ones are held in Bhaktapur.
The other tale associated with Gai Jatra is that as king Pratap Malla’s queen would not come out of her misery and was deeply saddened, so it was announced that whoever could make her laugh would be rewarded. Hearing this, a lot of people came and tried their best making various comments about social issues and highly ranked people in society, and they were successful in make the queen laugh, and so began the tradition of making satirical comments on high ranking people.

          So, besides having its religious significance, the day is also celebrated as one where people make merry by making jokes and satires. It is a day when everyone is allowed to make satirical comments on anyone.

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