Newa community marked the festival of Gaijatra all over the country on Thursday. True to its Nepal Bhasa name Saparu (Sa meaning cow and Paru meaning Pratipada), the festival is observed every year on the first day of the dark fortnight (Pratipada) of the Nepali month of Bhadra. This festival is celebrated in memory of those who have lost their lives in the past year.
The family members of the deceased either dress up as cows or take an actual cow with them as they go around their settlements. While doing so, they receive fruits, yoghurt, beaten rice and other food and monetary donations from other community members.
To prevent disruptions to the Gaijatra procession, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) banned vehicles from entering the city centre. Issuing a notice, KMC prohibited the entry of vehicles in Lagan, Gophal, Brahma Tole, Wonde, Hyumat, Kwohiti, Paropkar, Bhimsenthan, Om Bahal, Chhwasa Pakha, Maruhiti, Pyaphal, Dhoka Tole, Mukum Baddi, Sunta Galli, Yatkha, Tamo Galli, Nardevi, Tengal, Bangemudha, Nhekantala, Ason, Kamalachhi. Bhotahiti, Masangalli, Indra Chowk, Makhan, Gwachhe Muga Galli, Atko Narayan, Phalchasa Galli, Jorganesh, Lakhe Nani, Padham Sugandha Marg, Jyabahal and Dalachhi. The ban shall stay in place on Friday too.
Outside the Kathmandu Valley, 22 families participated in the Gaijatra procession in Dhankuta. Additionally, traditional dances like Lakhe Naach and Lathi Naach were also performed in the Dhankuta Market.
Hindu Newas celebrate Gaijatra hoping to assist their departed relatives cross the mythical Vaitarani River by holding on to a cow's tail.
In Dhankuta, the Gaijatra parade began from Shreewani and passed through Madan Chowk, Chuwa Bot, Bhim Narayan Chowk, Upper Kopche and Lower Kopche before ending at Tundikhel.