The gai, or cow, is holy to Hindus. She represents Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, and guides the souls of the departed to the gates of the Netherworld. But Gai Jatra is not a somber occasion. Satire, jokes, fancy costumes, and colorful processions are the order of the day as people recall how an eighteenth-century king rallied his people to cheer his queen upon the death of their son. Those who have experienced the death of close ones during the past year share their sorrow and take comfort in the fact that the gai has safely transported the departed souls on their afterlife journey. Young men wear women’s saris, children dress up as cows, and whimsical characters of all sorts fill the streets. Special issues of local magazines poke fun at everyone and everything – even the most important people aren’t spared.