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Gaijatra festival being observed today

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KATHMANDU — The traditional festival of Gaijatra , also known as cow festival, is being observed on Monday in the three cities of Kathmandu Valley and some other places in the country amidst the fun, gaiety, humor, satire, and entertainment.

The festival, beginning on the first day of the waning moon in the month of Bhadra as per the lunar calendar, lasts for a week.

During this time-honored tradition, family members of people who had died in the past one year take out a rally dressed in the attire of a cow, wearing strange costumes with peculiar appearance to commemorate the deceased.

The bereaved families offer fruits, bread, beaten rice, curd and money to those participating in the procession including the cows.

The festival is celebrated mainly by the Newar communities in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur districts organising dance, drama and different satire related programmes.

Apart from Kathmandu Valley, the festival is also observed in Banepa, Dhulikhel, Trishuli, Dolakha, Khotang, Bhojpur, Chainpur, Ilam, Dharan, Biratnagar, Birgunj, Hetauda and Pokhara.

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As the saying goes, the festival derives its name from the religious belief that the deceased, during their journey to heaven, crosses a legendary river by grabbing the tail of a cow.

People throng in and around different parts of the Kathmandu Valley to mark the festival.

This festival is believed to have started during the reign of King Pratap Malla, who, in a bid to console his queen, much grieved at the death of her son in a smallpox epidemic, ordered his people to organize humour and satire programmes in various comic postures.

He wanted to show the pain of others to his wife then he made the arrangements of showing such grief fair to share the pain.

The day is a public holiday in Kathmandu Valley.

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President extends good wishes on occasion of Maghe Sankranti

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KATHMANDU— President Bidya Devi Bhandari has extended happiness, peace and prosperity to all Nepali sisters and brother at home and abroad on the occasion of the Maghi or Maghe Sankranti.

In a message issued from the Secretariat of the President, President Bhandari has expressed her confidence that this festival would strengthen social unity by promoting mutual understanding among different castes and communities of our society.

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Our festivals have contributed a lot to maintain our Nepali identity by linking geographic, cultural, ethnic and lingual diversities and such festivals have played vital role to make our country known in the global stage, President Bhandari has said in the message.

In a similar message, Vice-president Nanda Bahadur Pun has said that such festival enhance mutual harmony, tolerance, fraternity and unity among the Nepalis and contribute to conservation and promotion of our indigenous culture.

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