Gai Jatra: Tradition of Celebration of Death

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Gai Jatra: Tradition of Celebration of Death

Gai (meaning Cow) + Jatra (meaning process or journey); Gai Jatra is one of the biggest festivals of Kathmandu Valley. This festival of cow is celebrated in Kathmandu Valley to celebrate the death of loved ones. This festival is the time to remember the lost one and ease the pain of their demise. Cow in Hindu culture is regarded as the goddess of wealth.

Also, there is a homosexual parade, as well as many people dressed in strange clothing. The event lasts eight days in Bhaktapur. These festivities have their origins in the time of the Malla kings. Apparently, the Malla Queen mourned her son for a long time following his sad death. Every family who had lost a loved one was invited to come out in procession to show the queen that she wasn’t alone in her grief, as part of the king’s attempt to comfort her. That’s why the parade through the streets is filled with laughter and pleasure.

homosexual parade in Gai Jatra

In 2021, Gai Jatra in Nepal will be celebrated on 23 August (Monday)


Celebration Across Nepal


Many ancient towns in Kirtipur, including as Itagol, Panga, Bhajianga, and Kepu Dey, participate in the Gai Jatra. The Gai Jatra is celebrated in a distinctive way here. Thousands of Kirtipur enthusiasts parade around the city dressed as various gods and goddesses. Kirtipur Gai Jatra festivities are based on the belief that the gates of heaven would open on this day.

Celebration of Gaijatra


Taha Macha Chariot

Haku Patasi (a sort of black sari material) adorns the Taha Macha chariot of Bhaktapur, which is painted with images of the deceased, which represent the spirits of the gone.

Hilarious fashion show

It’s a fun fashion show with guys dressed in Hakupatashi and a feminine costume.

Ghinta Ghisi

Ghinta Ghisi conducts a variety of cultural events from the day of Gai Jatra until Krishna Janmashtami. There are devotees and children in masks and painted bodies who perform the Ghinta Ghisi traditional dance. During the Ghinta Ghisi, youngsters dress up like different gods and have a great time.


Patan’s Matayaa, a religious procession, is celebrated with less fervor.

How Gaijatra is Celebrated?

The Gai Jatra (Cow Festival) is a Nepali Hindu tradition that honors deceased loved ones. With the Gai Jatra, people express their emotions over the loss of loved ones with one other while they get blessings from the gods of the universe. Especially for mourning families, it is a period of family participation in activities believed to offer happiness and safety to the souls of those who have passed away.

History of Gai Jatra

The Backstory of Gai Jatra – Story of King Malla and the Queen

The Gai Jatra has a rich history, dating back to the reign of Pratap Malla, the monarch of Nepal Mandala, who is reported to have lost his son at an early age. Despite the queen’s sadness, King Malla announced a reward for the person who could bring her back to happiness. In response to the widespread failure, King Malla ordered the staging of a big cow parade, complete with dancing and singing. What we can learn from the Myth When the queen saw the cow procession, she became happy and thankful, realizing that death is an unavoidable part of life and that she had to accept it. As the queen grew older, she became more appreciative of life after realizing that many of her loved ones were dying every day. Gai Jatra is hence said to have been invented by King Pratap Malla.

Why Cow?

Hindu mythology holds cows in high regard as the Goddess of riches and prosperity, which is why they are so revered among the Newari tribes. Cow worship, according to popular belief, is a method to avoid Yamaraja, the God of Death.

Gai Jatra After-Parade

Once the parade is complete, every participant adorns a king-like hand-made mask and clothes. An array of comic and humorous performances take place during the Gai Jatra.

Modern Day Tradation

Now the Gai Jatra is also an opportunity to express one’s thoughts and opinions without fear of reprisal. As part of this gala event, political satire and social humor are often performed. To promote the event, the Gai Jatra organizes mass television and radio coverage by numerous media outlets.

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