FESTIVALS OF SIKKIM
The rich cultural and religious history of Sikkim has woven all the communities of the state into a strong fabric of a peaceful and tranquil state in the country. The festivals of different communities and faith are celebrated with equal zest and fervor by the people of the state irrespective of their religion or community.
The following are the list of festivals celebrated in Sikkim:
- Maghe Sankranti
Maghe Sankranti, also called as Makar Sankranti in other parts of the India, is the first day of the tenth month of the Bikram Sambat calendar which heralds the onset of warmer weather. It is a major secular festival of the Nepalese. It falls on the fourteenth of January every year.
- Sonam Lochar
The first day of the twelfth month in the lunar calendar is celebrated as the New Year by the Tamang Community in the state. The Tamangs celebrate this auspicious day with great joy and fervor.
Losar, the Tibetan New Year as per the lunar calendar, is celebrated across the state with great enthusiasm and gaiety. It is celebrated on the first day of the first month of the Tibetan lunar calendar.
This Hindu festival of colors symbolizes the victory of good over evil. It also marks the advent of spring and people of Sikkim celebrate it joyously with a splash of color. It is celebrated on the full moon day as per the Vikram Samvat Hindu calendar in the month of Phalgun.
- Ramnawami (Chaite Dasain)
This festival is dedicated to the memory of Lord Rama. It occurs on the ninth day of Chaitra month (the first month of the Hindu calendar). The festival commemorates the birth of Rama who is remembered for his prosperous and righteous reign.
- Good Friday
Good Friday, also known as “ Holy Friday” is Friday immediately preceding Easter Sunday. It is observed by Christians all over the world as the day on which Jesus was crucified.
Sakewa is a religious festival celebrated by the Kirat Khambu Rai community of Sikkim. It is also known as the Bhoomi puja or Chandi puja (worship of mother earth). The festival begins on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Baisakh, which usually falls in April/May.
- Saga Dawa
Saga Dawa is the most important religious day for the Buddhists all over the world. The day marks the birth, attainment of enlightenment and parinirvana of Lord Buddha. It falls on the 15th day (full moon) of the fourth Tibetan lunar month.
- Id Ul Fitr
Id Ul Fitr is an important religious festival of the Muslim community that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting. It is the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal.
- Bhanu Jayanti
Bhanu Jayanti marks the birth anniversary of Nepali poet Adikabi Bhanu Bhakta Acharya who was born in 1814 in Nepal. It falls on 13th July.
- Drukpa Tshechi
Drukpa Tsechi is the day on which Lord Buddha gave his first teachings to his first five disciples at Sarnath. It falls on the fourth day of the 6th month of the Buddhist lunar calendar.
- Guru Rinpoche’s Thrungkar Tshechu
Guru Rinpoche’s Thrungkar Tshechuis the birth anniversary of our patron saint Lord Padmasambhava. It falls on the tenth day of the fifth month of the Buddhist lunar calendar.
- Tendong Lho Rum Faat
Tendong Lho Rum Faat is one of the oldest and most important festivals celebrated in Sikkim by the Lepcha community. According to the Lepchas, Mt. Tendong had saved the Lepcha people during a great deluge which flooded the entire Mayel Lyang (Sikkim). The Lepchas celebrate this occasion to pay respect to Mount Tendong. It falls on 8th August every year.
Janmasthami is the Hindu festival that celebrates the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna. It occurs on the 8th day of the Krishnapaksha in the Hindu month of Shravan which usually falls in the month of July or August.
Indrajatra is a festival celebrated by the Newar community to pay homage to Lord Indra and his mother for rains and good harvest.
- Pang Lhabsol
Pang Lhabsol is a festival unique to Sikkim and is performed every year to pay tribute, honour and to propitiate the protective guarding deities of Sikkim, especially Mount Khangchendzonga, the guardian deity of Sikkim. It falls on the fifteenth day of the seventh month as per the lunar calendar.
- Durga Puja (Dasain)
Durga Puja is a Hindu festival which marks the battle of goddess Durga with the powerful buffalo demon Mahishasura. Her victory is epitomized as victory of good over evil thus, the celebration. It occurs in the Hindu calendar month of Ashvin which usually falls in September or October months.
- Diwali (Laxmi Puja)
Diwali or Deepawali , the festival of lights, is one of the most important and popular hindu festival. It symbolizes the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, right over wrong and hope over despair.
- Lhabab Dhuechen
Lhabab dhuechen is observed to mark the descent of Lord Buddha from heaven back to earth. He had left earth at the age of 41 to give teachings s to benefit the gods and to repay the kindness of this mother by liberating her from samsara. It occurs on the 22nd day of the ninth month of the Tibetan lunar calendar.
- Teyongsi Sirijunga Sawan Tongnam
Teyongsi Sirijunga Sawan Tongnam marks the birth anniversary of Limboo revivalist and scholar Teyongsi Sirijunga. It falls on 23rd of December.
Barahimizong is observed and celebrated by the Mangar community to worship their forefathers. It falls on the
- Kagyed Dance
Kagyed Danc e is the post harvest masked dance to ward off evil and bring good fortune in the coming year. It symbolizes the destruction of evil forces by burning effigies made of wood, flour and paper. It falls on the 28th and 29th day of the 10th month of Tibetan lunar calendar.
Losoong/Namsoong is the Sikkimese New Year which marks the end of harvest season. The Lepchas celebrate the occasion as Namsoong while the Sikkimese Bhutias call it the Losoong. The celebrations start from the 29th of the tenth month of Tibetan lunar calendar and continues for a week.
Christmas commemorates the birth of Lord Jesus Christ and it is celebrated as a religious and cultural festival by billions of people around the world on 25th December.
- Tamu Lochar
Tamu Lochar is the New Year of the Gurung community and is celebrated every year on the 30th of December in Sikkim. It marks the change of animal sign (lho) for the Gurung community.