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Nepal’s Gaijatra Pride Festival 2012 announcement

The annual "GAIJATRA INTERNATIONAL PRIDE FESTIVAL" to be held on 3rd August 2012 in Lakeside, Pokhara, Nepal.

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

10th June 2012 06:50

Alessia Valenza | ILGA Asia

This annual festival has become one of BDS’??s premier events and draws crowds of local supporters as well as tourists, to join in on the fun and enjoyment of the festivities. Although BDS has been celebrating this unique festival for the last 10 years, we have been especially promoting it as an International Pride Event for the last two years. The theme for this yearâ??s GaiJatra is "?Bringing Friends and Families Together for Solidarity towards Equality, Protecting Mountain Eco-systems and Promoting "Visit Lumbini Year 2012â?? in Nepal."

The festival of "Gai Jatra" is one of the oldest and most unusual of the many festivals 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, Patan, Kathmandu, Pokhara, Bharatpur, Bandipur, Gorkha, Dhulikhel, etc.

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 Nepali sexual and gender minority association, to stage Nepal’s Pride march.

Pride activities:

11 am: Gathering at the Amarsingh Chwok of Pokhara city with colorfully decorated caparisoned elephants and floats joined by many local LGBTs representing their districts, bringing with them their own local traditional costumes and attire.

?¨Rally starts and proceeds through the touristic areas of Pokhara. Rally ends at Lakeside Pokhara

12 noon: the Rainbow colored boats and fairies representing different Nepali cultures and music, floats in Fewa lake with the shadow of Mountain Machapuchhere.

1:00PM After the rally: We will have annual candle lit memorial in honor of all the LGBTI that have passed away this year. This year, the candle lit memorial will also be in honor of the victims of the Seti River flood caused by a global warming-induced avalanche on Machhapuchre Mountain in last May.

2:00 PM onwards, fun, games and dance party all day long¦.

We also have Lakhe dance (traditional dance by a man in mask and cross dressing influenced by Tantra-ism) and comedy performances on the current political situation in Nepal brought by LGBTI groups from all 5 development regions.

?¨There will also be a colorful and light-hearted parade, consisting of a highly decorated musical band and groups of walking performers plus costumed marchers representing various third genders, lesbians, gays, and their friends, family, along with other queer-friendly groups with Musical Hangama. Joining the parade will be a colorful carnival, a massive promotion and distribution of condoms and a call for Solidarity towards Equality, Protecting Mountain Eco-systems and Promoting Nepal’?s "Visit Lumbini (Buddha’s birth place in Nepal) Year 2012".

Please join Blue Diamond Society for this extraordinary extravaganza!!

Have a glimpses of previous Gaijatra Pride Festival.