The Sikkim Festivals are unique to make you want to enjoy even more
Sikkim is a state in India’s northeastern region. It is bounded to the north and northeast by China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, to the east by Bhutan, to the west by Nepal, and the south by West Bengal. Sikkim is also close to India’s Siliguri Corridor, which runs into Bangladesh. Sikkim is the least populated and second smallest state in India.
Sikkim, a section of the Eastern Himalaya, is famous for its biodiversity, encompassing alpine and subtropical temperatures and being home to Kangchenjunga, India’s highest mountain third-highest on the planet. Gangtok is the capital and biggest city in Sikkim. The Khangchendzonga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, covers about 35% of the state.
Sikkim Festivals are a narrative that never fails to captivate the attention and admiration of visitors, making it one of the finest times to visit Sikkim. While India celebrates all of its holidays with a lot of noise – both in the form of firecrackers and human passion – Sikkim is more colorful in its decorations and dances, as it keeps the organic and pure feeling that the world has come to identify with this paradise. Rustic beliefs, bright decorations, and a lot of laughing define some of Sikkim’s greatest celebrations.
Here is a list of Sikkim Festivals that you can’t miss out on-
Saga Dawa, or the Triple Blessed Festival, is an auspicious month for Sikkimese Buddhists, with prayers conducted in various monasteries throughout the month. The biggest celebration takes place on the full moon of the fourth month of the Tibetan calendar [known as Buddha Purnima in the rest of India]. It is thought that the Buddha was born, acquired Enlightenment, and entered Nirvana.
In Gangtok and other towns and villages around Sikkim, a colorful procession of monks playing musical instruments and devotees carrying sacred scriptures, pictures, and sculptures of Lord Buddha is held. People assemble in the streets to obtain blessings by touching their heads with the Holy Scriptures.
Also Read, Sikkim: The Soup And Stew Land
Maghe Sankranti announces the arrival of better weather in Sikkim and is a major celebration in Nepal. The event, known as Makker Sakranti in other regions of India, lasts three days, generally in mid-January. Every year on the fourteenth of January. Makkar, a bathing festival, is celebrated, with people taking a swim near the junction of the Tista and Rangit rivers. Today, massive fairs and meals are hosted in various locations along the river banks and at river confluences.
The Jorethang Maghe Mela, held in Jorethang, South Sikkim, is the largest and most anticipated. It has now grown into one of the significant Sikkim festivals, attracting large crowds of both residents and visitors. The meal is claimed to have developed from an agricultural fair held for the first time in Jorethang in 1955. Hundreds of stalls selling and displaying various items are set up to accommodate the large number of visitors that attend the fair.
Losar is the Tibetan New Year, which occurs in February and is also celebrated by inviting friends and family to family gatherings. The Gutor Chaam, which depicts the fight between good and evil and the ritualized eradication of evil, is performed at Rumtek monastery two days before Losar.
It is one-of-a-kind because it honors nature. This is one the Sikkim festivals and all of its festivities revolve around the world’s third tallest mountain, Kanchenjunga, also known as Khangchendzonga. Aside from commemorating the summit, this event also celebrates the pact made between Bhutias and Lepchas.
All local deities were invited to attend. The festival portrays the god who is the protector by the lama who dons the costume and dances and is celebrated around the fifteenth day, which falls in the seventh month according to their calendar, end of August according to the standard calendar. This moment is accompanied by a great deal of joking and laughter.
5)Losoong/ Sonam Lochar
The Farmer’s New Year is similar to the Baisakhi celebration in the north when farmers celebrate their abundant harvest. The lamas dance in the tradition of the expulsion of the bad spirit and welcoming the new spirit via the New Year. Sonam Lochar is a major celebration in the Tamang people. The event takes place throughout the spring season, from January to February (Magha Sukla Paksha). The Tamangs, like other groups, celebrate their festival with tremendous delight and religious zeal, which lasts from five to fifteen days, depending on location.
6)Ramnawami (Chaite Dasain)
One of the most important religious holidays for the Nepali population in India’s Himalayan state of Sikkim is ‘Chaite Dashain.’ In other areas of the nation, the event, also known as ‘Small Dashain,’ is frequently observed as ‘Ram Navami,’ honoring Lord Rama’s birth on this fortunate day during the Pre-Vedic era. On this day, people visit Lord Rama temples, have family gatherings, and eat celebratory feasts.
Drukpa Tsheshi is observed on the fourth (Tsheshi) day of the sixth (Drukpa) month of the Tibetan calendar. Every year, it falls sometime between July and August, according to the English calendar. According to tradition, the event is held to commemorate Lord Buddha and his first preaching of the Four Noble Truths. This sermon was given to his five followers at Sarnath’s Deer Park. The first noble truth introduces us to pain.
The second noble truth proclaims the origins of pain, accident, chance, illusion, and their causes. The achievement of ‘Nirvana,’ or the end of suffering, is confirmed by the third noble truth. The truth of the Eightfold Path, which finally leads to Nirvana, is the subject of the fourth noble truth.
Sakewa is one of Sikkim’s most important cultural and religious celebrations for the Kirat Khambu Rai. It begins with Bhumi Puja and is followed by community dances and other ceremonies as a tribute to Mother Earth. The whole state comes alive during Sakewa’s colorful festivities, with the sounds of drums and cymbals resonating in the air and people soaking up the atmosphere of merriment and celebrations.
The Kirat Rai tribe is said to be among the Himalayas ‘ oldest inhabitants. They are believed to be nature worshipers. Their practice of paying homage to nature gods and praying for the well-being of all living things across the earth dates back to ancient times.
Kagyed Chaam, one of the most prominent Buddhist holidays, is a celebration highlighted by masked monks and lamas executing arduous dance routines, representing the elimination of all bad and negative forces, bringing peace and prosperity to all in the coming new year. During the dance, several key episodes from Buddhist mythology are recreated. It concludes with the burning of effigies constructed of flour, wood, and paper. The event is regarded highly by locals and by international tourists who believe in Buddha’s teachings and view watching this dance as an everlasting blessing.
Buddhist monks and lamas conduct Kagyed, a type of Cham Masked Dance, to show their respect for the almighty and fend off evils. Cham dances have a long history dating back to Guru Padmasambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism in Sikkim, who is claimed to have done this dance to exorcise a demon from this sacred region. Several variations of these cham dances are performed on various occasions. One thing in common is masks depicting many human, deity, and animal faces enacting a fascinating narrative from Buddhist mythology.
10)Tendong Lho Rum Faat
Tendong Lho Rum Faat is one of the Lepchas’ oldest celebrations, which takes place in August. The three-day festivities begin with prayers being offered to Mount Tendong in South Sikkim. Mt. Tendong is said to have saved the Lepcha people during the big flood that swamped the whole Mayel Lyang region, now known as Sikkim, according to legend. The event is a gratitude to the Saviour Mountain that takes place every year. To mark the anniversary, several literary and cultural events are being organized in the state capital. Exhibits of traditional Lepcha cuisine, clothing, and decorations are on show on the last day.