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GAI JATRA/NEPALESE GAY PRIDE 2005

in NEPAL, 16/08/2005

Amidst a Civil War, Nepal’s LGBT Group, the Blue Diamond Society, Keeps a Tradition Going as a Celebration of Diversity

This annual festival has become one of BDS premier
events and draws crowds of locals as well as tourists,
to join in the fun and enjoyment of the festivities.


The festival of "Gai Jatra" is one of the oldest and
most unusual of the many holidays celebrated by the
Hindus/Buddhists of Kathmandu Valley. Some say the
custom goes back more than a millennium, to the time
of the Licchavi kings. Falling on the day after Janai
Purnima, the full moon day of August, Gai Jatra is a
day for remembering those who have died in the past
year. In addition to praying for their departed loved
ones, family and friends of the deceased commemorate
them in great processions, which wind their way
through the streets of the ancient Newar towns of
Bhaktapur and Kathmandu.

Despite its associations with the dead, the festival
procession is not a dour or solemn event. In fact,
there is a great deal of merry-making connected with
it. Many of the participants wear outlandish costumes.

Traditionally, a good number of the young Newar men in
the procession dress in women's clothing. Over the
centuries, the Gai Jatra Festival developed a second
purpose. In the days when political expression of any
kind was outlawed, Gai Jatra was the day when ordinary
citizens could vent their frustrations through
political and social satire, without fear of reprisal
from the rulers.

Given this history, Gai Jatra seemed to be a
ready-made occasion for the Blue Diamond Society, the
Nepalese queer association, to stage Nepal's inaugural
Pride march.

Pride: Where and When

12:00: Gathering at Tridevi Marg, front Of Sanchiya
Kosh Building (Fire and Ice) in Thamel.

12:05PM: Rally starts and proceeds through the tourist
quarter of Thamel. From Thamel, through the heart of
the old city, passing through Thahity, Asan Bazaar and
Indrachowk, and Hanuman Dhoka, the palace square of
Kathmandu.

12:50PM: The highlight of the annual festival, and
this year‚s theme is "peace and harmony". A colorful
and light-hearted parade, consisting of highly
decorated musical band, groups of
walking performers plus costumed marchers representing
various queers, friends, family and queer-friendly
groups with Musical Hangama, colorful carnival.

THERE WILL BE A SPECIAL CANDLE LIGHT MEMORIAL IN
HUNAMANDHOKA DURBAR SQUARE FOR THOSE WHO DIED BECAUSE OF VIOLENCE AND AIDS LAST YEAR.

Please join Blue Diamond Society on this extravaganza
event.

For more information please call us: 4443350 or 4445147 or visit our web page at www.bds.org.np
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