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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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Devotees throng in Hindu shrines to observe Bala Chaturdashi

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KATHMANDU- Thousands of Hindu devotees from across the country have thronged in Pashupatinath temple and some other Hindu shrines from early morning today to pay homage to their near and dear ones, who died over the last one year, on the occasion of Bala Chaturdashi.

Families of those deceased sow the Satbeej (many different seeds) and lit lights praying for eternal peace to the deceased on this day.

In Pashupati, the devotees have observed penance the whole night from the last night and have taken the holy dips this morning to sow the seeds.

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The holy seeds of paddy, maize, wheat, barley and others are sown at Kailash, Gaurighat, Aryaghat, and Guheswori of Pashupati area, and Panchase, Galeshwor and Lord Shiva’s shrines across the country in Bala Chaturdashi that falls on Marga Krishna Chaturdashi.

As per the Hindu mythology, one’s ancestors will rest in heaven if such seeds are sown in the shrines of the Lord Shiva after lighting the lamps in their memory on the night of Marga Krishna Trayodashi.

In order to assist the devotees, the Pashupati Area Development Trust has arranged tents and other basic facilities, according to Trust’s Member Secretary Dr Pradeep Dhakal.

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