Festivals in Sikkim
If you want to witness the most kaleidoscopic riot of colours, you must visit Sikkim! Tucked away in the Himalayan Range in the North-Eastern corridor of India, this quaint little tourism hub revel in all the prismatic colours of nature throughout the year. Believe it or not, though it is the second smallest state in the country, when it is about celebrations, it can make all the other states in the country look smaller!
With a rich and diversified culture, heart-warming traditions, and rustic beliefs, Sikkim celebrates an array of festivals throughout the year. And to experience its festivity, you must plan a trip to this celestial destination and witness the below mentioned festivals in Sikkim:
1. Saga Dawa:
A triple favoured celebration, Saga Dawa is considered as one of the most pious festivals in Sikkim for the Mahayana Buddhists. The day begins with local Sikkim folk’s visiting monasteries and offering butter lamps as the token of their love.
Three imperative occasions associated with the life of Buddha are commended in this celebration. These occasions are the birth of Lord Buddha, enlightenment taken by Lord Buddha and passing of Lord Buddha or achieving nirvana. This delightful Sikkim festival is celebrated on the full moon day of the fourth month of Buddhist lunar date-book; around the end of May and early June.
Drukpa Teshi, a Buddhists religious festival in Sikkim, is celebrated with full zeal and splendour as on this day the Buddha lectured his first sermon of four Noble Truths to his five devotees at a deer park in Sarnath. This day is commended on the fourth day (Teshi) of the 6th month (Drukpa) of the Tibetan date-book in the month of July or August consistently.
One of the widely celebrated festivals in Gantok, this day involves mass-prayers at Deer Park and at Muguthang in North Sikkim. The day is then concluded with a Yak racewhich is certainly highlight of the celebration.
3. Pang Lhabsol:
Pang Lhasbsol, one of the most unique Sikkim festivals, was made popular by ChakdorNamgyal, the third lord of Sikkim. The festival involves worshipping Mount Kanchendzonga. The day also marks the age old blood brotherhood treaty as signed between the Lepchas and Bhutias by KhyeBumsa and TetongTek and the local gods/ deities were additionally welcomed to witness the event.
The guardian deity during this Sikkim festival is depicted by masked Lama who then dances as a red hot deity with a crown of five skulls, riding a snow lion. To ease out this considerably tragic looking scene to the spectators, jesters called ‘Atchars’” play jokes and other antics amid the Chaams. This celebration is commended on the fifteenth day of the seventh month around the end of August.
The festival of Bumchuis celebrated at the Tashiding Monastery in the West Sikkim during the month of January; translated locally, ‘Bum’ means ‘pot or vase’ and ‘Chu’ implies ‘water’. Amid the celebration, the pot that contains the Holy Water is opened by the Lamas of the religious community.
A part of the heavenly water is then distributed to all the gathered devotees and the pot is refilled with water and sealed for the next year’s celebration. The level of water in the pot predicts the prosperity of the future year. If the water overflows the pot, it predicts that the upcoming year will be a disturbed year; on the off chance if the post is dry it implies starvation.
5. Kagyat Dance:
Kagyat Dance is performed at every 28th and 29th day of the tenth month of Tibetan calendar. This dance is usually performed by the monks in the Tsuklakhang Monastery, and the custom move finishes with the burning of figures made of flour, wood and paper-symbolizing the destruction of the evil powers of hatred.
Before beginning this remarkable Buddhist religious festival, prayers are usually offered by these monks who later get together and pray for the prosperity of their community through the medium of dance.
RumtekMonastery is acclaimed for its ‘Chaams’ – the traditional lama dance and additionally the adapted ‘opera’ performed by the laypeople who live in the vicinity of the monastery. The vital ‘Chaams’ of Rumtek are performed two days before the Tibetan New Year which is performed on the tenth day of the fifth month of the Tibetan schedule.
Also known as ‘Tse Chu Chaam’, these chaams represent the eight different manifestations of Padmasambhava, who was an Indian sage and was the in-charge of spreading the teachings Buddhism in Tibet.
Sikkimese New Year; also known as ‘Sonam Losar’ (the Farmer’s New Year), is the eventwhereinthe farmers cheer and celebrate their harvest. In spite of the fact that Losoong is commended secretly among relatives and companions, however, the spirit of this delightful festival in Sikkim brings all people together for a common reason.
Lama dances are held in almost all vital monasteries two days preceding Losoong. These dances typically expel the wicked spirits of the previous year and welcome the great spirits for the coming year.
Dasain is one of the most essential Sikkim festivals that is largely celebrated by the Hindu Nepali masses of Sikkim. Usually, on this day Goddess Durga is prayed and grain seeds are planted in God rooms. On Ashtami (the eighth day), is the well-known ‘maar’ when goats are customarily sacrificed.
The other important festivals in Sikkim is Dipavali. This is a piece of the Tihar celebration which starts 10 days after Dasain. On the third day of Tihar Goddess Laxmi (the goddess of riches) is loved. At night on this day, ladies singBhailo while visiting each other.
The yearly ‘chaam’- traditional dance of the Lamas of Enchey religious community, is performed each year on the eighteenth and nineteenth days of the eleventh month of the Tibetan calendar (relating to the month of December).
Like the Chaams in different religious communities, here as well, this Buddhist religious festival in Sikkim watch the Lamas in their astonishing outfits and savage covers perform diviner dance with each other. In Enchey the Drag-dMarChaam of Padmasambhava is believed to be in his most wrathful form!
This is the Tibetan New Year and is praised by welcoming companions and relatives for family social events. A few days preceding Losar, is the GuthorChaam when beautiful lama dances are held in the Pemayangtse and Rumtek religious communities to welcome the Tibetan New Year.