|Poeple at GaiJatra|
Friday, May 4, 2012
Gai jatra (The procession of sacred cows)
Gai Jatra, very much like a carnival, begins on the day after full moon day of August September. Pratap Malla, a king of Malla dynasty, is said to have started the conversion of celebrating the festival in the eighteen century to console his bereaved queen by showing her that every householder is compelled to depart with his/ her kinsfolk. Then eight-day festival begins when the householders whose family members have died within the year send a small procession consisting of people impersonating cows, a priest and a band of traditional musicians. Along the traditionally prescribed path march gorgeously costumed boys representing cows closely followed by the family priest and a band of musicians. The cow procession is sent thus to arrest the departed soul to get to the heavenly abode as it is believed that it has to cross a river called Vaitarani, the river of fire, blood and pun. One should, it is believed, cross the river with the help of cows. Almost all the householders on the way offer home-brewed beer, breads and coins to the participants of the processions when it passes by presenting pantomimes of various activities like planting rice, sowing seeds, tilling land, etc. amidst the defining choir of traditional musical instruments. The frantic music slows down as they start feasting in the houses of the bereaved.