Gai Jatra, the festival of holy cow

Here I am, back in Nepal. And just in time to see yesterday’s festival Gai Jatra. Gai Jatra means “festival of cows”. During the festival musical processions of little boys dressed as young lord Krishna or stylized cows, followed by their family and friends take place throughout Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. Any family who has lost someone in the preceding year participate in the procession. The belief is that the cow assists the soul of the departed in the journey to heaven. And if a cow is not available then a young boy dressed up as cow is substituted.
I watched the festival in Basantapur. The processions were very colourful and noisy. The boys were dressed in red or yellow or white. The musicians played drums and trumpets and even some kind of local horns, very long and thin, and there was a group who played flutes. Some people sang special songs and held the portraits of their departed beloved ones.

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