The Unique Cultural and Folk Dances of Sikkim

The Unique Cultural and Folk Dances of Sikkim

Sikkim is the reservoir of various cultures that have co-existed for a long time. Each culture and tribe has their own folk dance.

The major inhabitants of Sikkim are

  • Nepali
  • Lepchas
  • Bhutias

Each of these tribes has their own unique customs and traditions which is evident during their cultural festivals. The different folk dances of Sikkim have become an integral part of the Sikkim culture. Their dance is believed to portray a huge part of their culture. They present their own dance forms dressed in their own traditional attires which makes it more interesting.

There are various tours and travel agency in Siliguri who provides budget Sikkim tour packages. Siliguri is the gateway to Sikkim and you can consult a car rental service in Siliguri for a cab with Eastern India Holidays – Travel Agency in Siliguri which shall take around 4 and half hours to drop you till Sikkim if you want to witness the unique and cultural folk dance of Sikkim.

The dances are basically prayers to God, for good harvest and prosperity. There are also few musical instruments that accompany the folk dances, which are scarcely used anywhere else. The unique dance forms also portray their art, history, tradition, culture and their unique way of life.

Firstly, let us discuss the time of the year when you are able to witness the folk dances of Sikkim

  • Chu Faat dance of the Lepchas can be witnessed on the 15th day of the 7th month of the Buddhist calendar.
  • The Masked dance is evident during the annual festivals on the 18th and 19th day of the 11th month of the Tibetan Buddhist calendar. It basically falls between December and January.
  • Kagyed Dance is performed on the 28th and 29th day of the 10th month of the Tibetan calendar which falls during December.
  • The religious masked dance of Rumtek chaam is performed on the 10th day of the 5th month of the Tibetan Buddhist calendar.
  • Gouthor Chaam is performed during February, 2 days prior to Losar.

The folk dances of Sikkim can be very confusing for someone who is not accustomed to their culture. So we would like to categorize dance forms under their respective tribes:

Nepali Folk Dance In Sikkim

Nepali Folk Dance
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Maruni – One of the oldest and popular dance form of the Nepali people which is generally associated with the festival called Tihar which is the Nepali name for Diwali, the festival of light. The costumes are colorful and they are also seen with Nepali ornaments and Dungris, the traditional nose rings.

Tamang Selo – It is a traditional dance form which is related to the Tamang community. The dance is mostly done to the rhythm of Dampoo which is a traditional musical instrument. The Tamang people celebrate their festivals with fun and Tamang Selo.

Sebru Naach: This dance form is related to Sherpa community who are said to be very fond of songs and dancing. These dance forms are praises for the beautiful flora and fauna and the scenic Himalayan ranges.

Chutkey Naach : It is a type of dance which is done by mostly young Nepali boys and girls during any ceremony or festivals. It is said to portray the joy and the beauty of youth through it and the young girls often use flowers on their heads while they dance to the sounds of Tambourine.

2. Gurung Folk Dance in Sikkim

Gurung Folk Dance
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Sorathi: This dance form is related to the Gurung community. The history of this dance form is very interesting. The dance is said to express the grievances of the 1600 poor queens who were robbed of their valuable ornaments because they could not provide an heir to the throne.

3. Subba or Limbu folk dance

Limbu folk dance
Image Courtesy: YouTube

Chyabrung dance:: This is a dance form which is related to both the Subba and the Limbu community. During festivals and special occasions the people of this community dance to the beat of their traditional musical instrument called Chyabrung. That is the main reason behind the name of this dance form. It is believed to depict the movement of birds and animals.

4. Lepcha Folk Dance in Sikkim

Lepcha Folk Dance
Image Courtesy: YouTube

Chu Faat: This Lepcha dance is in honor of Mt. Kanchenjunga and its four associate peaks. This dance is generally done with butter lamps and green bamboo leaves and generally to the tune of devotional songs of their community. It is performed on the 15th day of the 7th month of the Buddhist calendar.

Kar Gnok Lok: This traditional Lepcha folk dance is also termed as the dance of the swans. The dance depicts the flight of the migratory swans from warm plains towards the colder regions and their return journey from the colds. The Lepchas used the migration of these birds as a perfect time when they could harvest their crops.

5. Bhutia folk dance

Tashi Sabdo: This is an age-old Bhutia dance form depicting the custom of providing khadas on occasions and the young dancers have white scarves on them which also symbols purity, peace, and prosperity.

6. Tibetan folk dance

Yak Chaam
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Yak Chaam: It is a traditional Tibetan dance form to honor Yak, whom the people at high altitudes depended hugely for survival. This dance is mostly about the Yak and how the people at those altitudes lead a simple life in the mountains.

Singhi Chaam: It is also a traditional dance form which is also known as the Snow Lion dance. Actually, the associate five peaks of the sacred Mount Kanchenjunga forms a snow lion which is an important cultural symbol of the state. The snow lion is depicted in this dance form of Singhi Chaam.

7. Sikkimese Folk Dance

Sikkimese Folk Dance
Image Courtesy: BlogoGeek

Talachi: This dance form has a rich history behind it. A king once lost his favorite horse and he sent a search party to look for the royal horse. The traveled the hills and forests in search of the horse and while they did, they sang and dance to end the monotony of their long sojourn. This dance basically depicts this whole story.

Lu Khangthamo: It is a traditional dance which is performed in their traditional customs and ornaments. These dances are basically done to the pleasing songs and music on occasions of New Year celebrations. It depicts thanksgiving to almighty and deities for the three worlds of Heaven, Earth, and Hell. It is generally associated to the Bhutia section of the Sikkimese community.

8. Religious Masked Dance

Rumtek Chaam: A chaam is another name for a religious masked dance. The Rumtek masked dance is displayed on the 10th day of the 5th month of the Tibetan calendar, around the month of June. It presents 8 manifestations of holy Guru Rinpoche. This festival is very colorful and spectacular and attracts many pilgrims and tourists.

Kagyed Dance: This dance is performed during the months of December. It is performed symbolizing the destruction of an evil force and for the well being of the people with peace and prosperity in every home. The dance enacts many themes from the Buddhist mythology and is always accompanied by music and chants from the monks.

Each dance form has an endless history and culture behind them and that is the most beautiful thing about these wonderful folk dance forms. It is really amazing to see people still holding on to their rich cultures even after decades. Sikkim is a good example of cultural harmony and shall remain to be one of the most interesting tourist destinations of India.

Folk Dances Of Sikkim - An Integral Part Of The Sikkim Culture
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Folk Dances Of Sikkim - An Integral Part Of The Sikkim Culture
Sikkim is the reservoir of various cultures that have co-existed for a long time. Each culture and tribe has their own folk dance. Take a look
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Eastern India Holidays
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