KATHMANDU, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- The cow festival known as Gaijatra is being celebrated across the Kathmandu valley amid fanfare and humor on Tuesday.
The festival that is marked on the first day of the waning moon in the month of Bhadra as per the lunar calendar is celebrated especially by ethnic Newar community in three districts inside the valley.
This annual festival is celebrated by people to commemorate the family members who died in the past year by taking out procession. People of all ages in the guise of cows and lunatics go around the city, wearing colorful costumes and accessories.
According to belief, the deceased, during their journey to heaven, crosses a legendary river by grabbing the tail of a cow.
Suresh Napit, 60-year-old local of Kathmandu, told Xinhua on the spot, "My mother died recently so I am commemorating her death by participating in the procession with my family members. The festival is celebrated since ages and we are continuing it."
The festival originated in the 17th century during the reign of King Pratap Malla who, in a bid to console his queen immersed in the pain after the death of their son, ordered his people to organize humor and satire programs in various comic postures.
Besides procession, different musical instruments are also played on the streets.
On this day, people also express their feelings towards social and political anomalies, human follies and other contemporary affairs by comic skits, cartoons and comedy shows.
Durign the festival, the bereaved families offer fruits, bread, beaten rice, curd and money to participants in the procession including the cows. It is believed that doing such will lead the death's soul to peaceful rest in the heaven.