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<Sikkim Festivals>
 

Sikkim Festivals

Kagyed Dance
Post-harvest masked-dance festival to ward off evil and bring good fortune in the coming year: The dance (chaam), symbolizing the victory of good over evil are performed at the Tsuk-La-Khang, Phodong and Rumtek monasteries.

Losoong
The Sikkimese New Year. This Buddhist festival marks the end of the harvest season and is celebrated with great feasting at home. Archery contests are held amidst much feasting and merry making.

Maghe Sankranti
Hindu festival commemorating the passing of harsh winter days and welcoming spring. Fairs are held at the confluence of rivers, the most notable one being the 'Jorethang Mela'. On the first day, devout Hindus take a ritual bath at these holy spots.

Guthor Chhaam
Religious masked dances celebrating the end of the Tibetan calendar year and welcoming the new year. Held in the monasteries of Rumtek, Pemayangtse and Phodong two days ahead of Losar.

Losar
Though this is the Tibetan New Year, this is apparently is more respected by the Sikkimese society than Losoong. Again, a time for feasting and merry making.

Bumchu
Held at the Tashiding Monastery in West Sikkim, this two-day festival occurs a fortnight after Losar where the abbot of the monastery unveils a pot of holy water that will forecast Sikkim's fortune for the year ahead. Too much or too little water in the pot signifies troubled times. If the water-level is found to be at the center, it signifies peace and prosperity. Some of this water is then diluted with regular water to be distributed among devotees at the festival.

Flower Festival
A call to international visitors to witness Sikkim's rich floral resources commemorated with a flower show at the White Hall.

Saga Dawa
Also known as the 'Thrice Blessed Day', as it is believed that the Buddha's soul entered his mother's womb, and as an adult he attained enlightenment and passed onto nirvana on this day. A day of spiritual rededication for Buddhists. In Gangtok for several hours, a never-ending procession that is miles long wends through the streets where monks and lay Buddhists parade with religious banners, icons and holy books.

Guru Rimpoche Trungkar Tshechu
A great dance drama performed at the Rumtek Monastery enacting the eight manifestations of Guru Padmasambhava, the Indian sage who was responsible for consolidating Buddhism in Tibet. He is also revered by the Sikkimese as Guru Rimpoche, and during his travels he is supposed to have visited Sikkim.

Tendong Lho Rum Faat
A Lepcha festival to mark the celebration of Tendong Hill. According to legend, the hill rose like a horn during the 'great flood' and saved the people.

Pang Lhabsol
Unique to Sikkim, this festival is in honour of Khangchendzonga, guardian and protector deity of Sikkim. An important feature of the celebration is the spectacular 'warrior dance' in which swordsmen leap and prance with intricate steps hailing martial war-cries. Introduced during the reign of the third Chogyal Chador Namgyal, it was the monarch who choreographed this drama in order to keep his soldiers 'fit-to-fence' .

Dasain
Dasain is the main festival of the Hindu Nepalese in Sikkim. This too signifies the victory of good over evil. The elders of the family bless the young with 'tika' and gratuities.

Tihar
Corresponding to the Indian 'festival of lights', Laxmi Puja or Diwali and celebrated similarly, Nepalese tradition also includes 'Bhai Tika' on the day after, where sisters offer tika, gifts, and special meals to their brothers.

2008 List of Holidays and Festivals

 

Jan 1

New Years Day

 

Jan 14-15

Nepali Hindu festival marked by fairs at the confluence of major rivers. Major sites are Jorethang in South Sikkim, and Tribeni near Teesta Bazaar

Jan 26

Republic Day

Government ceremony at the Raj Bhawan

Feb 7

Losar

Tibetan New Year

Feb 8

Sonam Lhochar

Tamang New Year

Mar 21

Good Friday

 

Mar 22

Holi

Hindu festival of colors

Apr 14

Chaite Dasain /
Ram Nawami

Commemorating the birth of Lord Rama

Apr 14

Ambedkar Jayanti

 

May 16

State Day

 

May 27

Sakewa

A Rai festival in which dancers enact the legend of how their gods gave them the wisdom to transform themselves from hunter-gatherers to farmers, and to plant the first rice.

Jun 18

The Thrice Blessed Day of the Buddha. In Gangtok both monks and lay Buddhists parade the street carrying holy books.

July 13

Bhanu Jayanti

Birthday of the Nepali poet Bhanu Bhakta Acharya

Aug 5

Drukpa Tsheshi

Celebrates Buddha's preaching of the Four Noble Truths. Not a major festival in Gangtok but is celebrated with great fanfare in Muguthang, North Sikkim.

Aug 8

Tendong Lho Rum Faat

An annual homage to Mount Tendong by the Lepcha for having saved their tribe from annihilation in the great flood. Ceremonies at Mount Tendong

Aug 11

Chham (Masked Dance) at the Rumtek Monastery - enacts the eight manifestations of Guru Padmasambhava, the Indian sage who was responsible for consolidating Buddhism in Tibet.

Aug 15

Independence Day

Government ceremony at the Paljor Stadium

Aug 24

Janamasthami

Birthday of Lord Krishna

Sep 15

A Buddhist Festival unique to Sikkim only. Introduced by the 3rd. Chogyal Chador Namgyal, this is a masked dance opera worshipping Mount Khangchendzonga held in Tsuk-La-Khang (Gangtok), Pemayangtse and Rabongla.

Oct 2

Gandhi Jayanti

Birthday of Mahatma Gandhi

Oct 2

Id Ul Fitr

Moslem festival

Oct 6-10

Dasain-Durga Puja

Hindu Dussera festival

Oct 28-31

Hindu festival of light

Nov 19

Lhabab Dhuechen

Celebrating Buddha's descent from Heaven. Ceremonies held within monasteries

Dec 12

Teyongsi Sirijunga Sawan Tongnam

Commemorating the birth of the renowned Limbu king, Teyongsi, who is said to have created the Sirijunga script.

Dec 25

Christmas

Love Feast at the Gangtok Church

Dec 26

Old Rumtek Monastery, Lingdum Monastery, Phodong Monastery

Dec 27

Barahimizong

 

Dec 28-31

Losoong

Sikkimese Buddhist New Year
(Harvest Festival)

Dec 30

Tamu Lochar

Gurung New Year

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