Two Festivals: Fall 2007

The Kathmandu Valley is home to numerous festivals, but two of the big ones held in the early autumn are Gaai Jaatra and Janaipurnima.  Gaai Jaatra literally means Festival of Cows, and it is held in the Durbar Square (Palace Square) of Bhaktapur, one of the sister cities located in the Kathmandu Valley.  The festival does not actually have cows in it, but families construct tall figures that are supposed to have some semblance of cows (usually they have a tail and perhaps horns) on which they place photographs of one or more loved ones who have died in the previous year.  These are then paraded through the streets of old Bhaktapur city.

Janai Purnima is a celebration in Patan, another of the cities in the Kathmandu Valley, to which jaakris (traditional healers) from all over Nepal come to receive strength for the remainder of the year.

Another part of Janai Purnima is that a religious object is dropped into a murky pool, and whoever can find it is blessed with a particularly auspicious year, so boys and young men spend a great deal of the celebration swimming!

I was fortunate to be able to get a lot of really wonderful pictures at Janai Purnima and the following are a selection of those:

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About Thandiwe

Hopeful cynic, creative, seriously silly, lover of people and places, hypocrite, third-culture kid, queer, life-long learner, white woman, Christ follower, outdoor enthusiast: I am a seeker of justice and truth who has re-found my spiritual home in progressive Christianity. I serve as the Associate Pastor at a small Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) congregation near the mountains of Colorado where I live with my beloved.
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