Remembering the dead, through humourGaijatra festival: Remembering the lost loved ones and dealing with grief.
Centuries-old festival Gaijatra was celebrated on Friday to soothe the grief of families who lost relatives over the past year. The annual festival is held in high esteem throughout Nepal, and it touches the hefty subject of mortality through humour. In the Capital, it typically starts and ends in Kathmandu Durbar Square.
Young boys and girls, with faces painted, joined in the festival and paraded as cows throughout Kathmandu Valley and in different parts of the country. The children, who also dress as other deities, march around to ensure their loved ones find a place in heaven.
This festival started during Malla king Pratap Malla’s reign in the 17th century. He is said to have invited people to march in costume and perform various stunts and plays in front of his palace, to make his grief-stricken wife feel better in the wake of their son’s death. Despite it being a gloomy subject, the festival always lightens up the entire country.