The weeklong Gaijatra Festival where members of Newar community pay homage to their kin who departed in the previous year, commenced today. There are slight unique elements that distinguish the celebration of the festival by Newars in the three cities in the Kathmandu Valley – Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, Kirtipur and other towns on the outskirts. But the purpose and the message the festival emboides in each of these places are the same – remembering the dead and a collective sharing of a feeling of loss individual families experience. Newars spread across Nepal also mark the festival.
Procession taken out from the families of those who lost their members passes through the locality and pays homage to different shrines. The particiapants – dressed in traditional clothes and carrying pictures of the deceased, masked and dressed as cows or lunatics are offered money, fruits and other offerings by the locals and the bereaved families.