Full moon day of the 4th month in the Tibetan Lunar Calendar, around
end of May and early June. Saga Dawa is a very important festival for
the Buddhists. This day is considered to be the holiest of the holy
Buddhist Festival. On this day Lord Buddha took birth, achieved
Enlightenment and passed away attaining Nirvana.
This festival is held on the 15th day of the
7th month around the end of August. This festival is unique to Sikkim.
Popularized by the 3rd Chogyal (king) of Sikkim, Chakdor Namgyal, this
festival marks the signing of the treaty of brotherhood between the
Lepchas and the Bhutias by Khye Bumsa and Tetong Tek when the local
deities and the snowy ranges of Khanchendzonga are worshiped. The
lamas portraying the guardian deity perform colorful masked dances.
Jesters called ‘Atchars ‘ lighten the mood of the spectators, who come
in hordes to witness this festival.
Losoong marks the end of the harvest season and also the end of the
10th month of the Tibetan lunar year, around the end of December.
Chaam dances are performed at the Palace (Tsuklakhang ), Phodong and
It is the Tibetan New year and is marked with a lot of gaiety and
festivity. It falls normally in the month of February.
Also known as Durga Puja, this fortnight long Hindu festival usually
falls in the month of October. The festival symbolizes the victory of
the Hindu Goddess Durga over evil. Barley seeds are sown in the soil
on the first day of this festival and their growth foretells good
harvest. A week later is “Phulpati “ meaning the day of flowers,
followed by Maha Astami and Kala Ratri and Navami. The 10th day of the
festival is known as Vijay Dashmi and also marks the victory of Lord
Rama over Ravana. During this day people smear their foreheads with
colored rice and the barley sprouts, which was sown on the first day
of Dasain, are picked and placed over the ears.
Tihar is the “Festival of Light “ and symbolizes the return of Lord
Ram to his hometown from exile after victory over Ravana and covers a
period of five days. The festival honors
certain animals on successive days. The first days known as a “Kak
Tihar is dedicated to crows and they are offered rice and some if
caught are even garlanded. On the second day, which is known as
“Kukkur Tihar”, dogs are garlanded. On the third day the cows are
honored with garland and their horns are painted in bright colours. It
is the turn of bullocks on the fourth day. Deepali, which falls on the
third day is considered to be the most important day when goddess
Lakshmi comes visiting every home which is lit bright with candles and
electric lights. The fifth day is also known as Bhai Tika in which
brothers visit the home of sisters and they apply tikas vermilion to
each other’s forehead. It is also an occasion for exchanging gifts.
During Tihar, traditional carols called Bailo or Deusi are sung.
This festival falls in the month of January and marks the lengthening
of days. Fetes are held on banks of the confluence of rivers. This is
one festival were people from all walks of life attend.
Gutor Cham is performed two days prior to Losar or the Tibetan New
Year, this Cham or dance depicts the battle between good and the evil
and the ritualised destruction of evil.
Bhumchu at Tashiding
The Bhumchu which takes palce on the 14th and 15th day of the first
month of the Tibetan lunar calander,around February-March ,is one of
Sikkim's most intriguing festivals. The water contained in the sacred
Phumba or vase is measured into 21 cups of equal measure. The level of
water is studied to divine the fortunes of Sikkim for the next year.
Devotees from Nepal, Bhutan and the neighbouring hills all come for
This festival celebrates Lord Buddha's first preaching of the Four
Noble Truths to his first five disciples at Saranath.. The festival is
held on the 4th day of the 6th month of the Tibetan lunar calendar.
Prayers are conducted in the main monastery.
Tendong Lho Rum Faat
On the8th of August, the Lepachas worship Mount Tendong which they
believe saved their race from destruction by a great flood. While the
Lepcha 'Bongthings' or priests worship Mt. Tendong in South Sikkim,
the Lepchas in Gangtok take part in day long cultural and literary
programmes in their traditional costumes