Gurung community in Sikkim celebrates its New Year festival Tamu Lhosar
The Nepalese Gurung community of Sikkim celebrated their new year Tamu Lhosar on 30 December 2022 with joy and gaiety. The Tamu Lhosar marks the beginning of the Gurung New Year which falls on the 15th day of Pusa, according to Vikram Samvat and 30th December in the English Calendar. The festival is celebrated with the family and community as a whole.
In Nepal, Tamu Lhosar is celebrated grandly with cultural tableaux in Gurung dominated districts.
The Gurungs are a hill people living on the southern slopes of the Himalayan Mountains in central Nepal. Their origins are uncertain, although they are of Mongoloid stock and their ancestors may have migrated to their current location from Tibet around 2,000 years ago. They have a sizeable population in Sikkim.
Important festivals of Sikkim
Losar is the Tibetan New Year which falls in the month of February and is likewise celebrated by inviting friends and relatives for family gatherings.
Sonam Lochar is an important festival of the Tamang community. The festival falls in the month January - February Spring season.
Ramnawami (Chaite Dasain)
‘Chaite Dashain’ makes for one of the most important religious festivals for the Nepali community inhabiting the Himalayan state of Sikkim in India. The festival, also known as ‘Small Dashain’ is commonly celebrated as ‘Ram Navami’ in other parts of the country, commemorating the birth of Lord Rama
Saga Dawa or the Triple Blessed Festival is an auspicious month for the Sikkimese Buddhists with prayers held throughout the month in various monasteries. On the full moon of this 4th month of the Tibetan calendar [celebrated as Buddha Purnima in the rest of India] is the main celebration.
Tendong Lho Rum Faat
Tendong Lho Rum Faat is one of the oldest festivals of the Lepchas and is usually held in August. The 3 day celebrations begin with the offering of prayers to Mount Tendong in South Sikkim. Guru Rimpoche’s Thunkar Tshechu
The birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava, the patron saint of Sikkim is celebrated with great pomp in the state. It falls on the tenth day of the fifth Tibetan month.
This festival is unique to Sikkim and commemorates the consecration of Mount Khangchendzonga as the guardian deity of Sikkim. To this day the mountain god is invoked and prayed upon at Pang Lhabsol to continue protecting Sikkim. The festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 7th month of the Tibetan calendar corresponding to late August/early September.
One of the most popular Buddhist festivals, Kagyed Chaam, is a celebration that is marked by masked monks and lamas performing some rigorous dance moves, symbolizing destruction of all the evil and negative forces.
Losoong, also called Namsoong by the Lepchas and Bhutias, is usually the time when the farmers rejoice and celebrate their harvest. The festival of Losoong is mostly celebrated in the month of December every year.
Ethnic Composition of Sikkim
There are three ethnic groups in Sikkim- Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepalese. Due to a century-long population migration from Nepal, the majority of Sikkim's residents are of Nepali ethnic origin.
Lepchas are considered as the primitive inhabitants of Sikkim much before the settlement of Bhutias and Nepalese. The Lepchas are basically Buddhist and Christian. Bhutias are the people originally from Kham area in Eastern Tibet who follow Lamanism.
Amongst the Nepalese population, except Sherpas and Tamangs who are Buddhists, other people are basically Hindu.
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