Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Sikkim

Festivals

Two festivals are occasions of special importance all over Sikkim. One occasion is dedicated to the deity Kanchendzonga  and the other to Lossoong the Sikkimese New Year Day.

Kanchendzonga 

The two day festival of dance performed during the worship of snowy range of Kanchanjunga (Khang-chen-dzod-nga) is a dance peculiar to Sikkim  alone. It is  celebrated in September. The third Chogyal of Sikkim, Chador Namgyal (1686-1716) introduced this dance about two and a half centuries ago as a result of a vision.

Kanchanjunga is about 40 km  from Gangtok and is the most unifying force in the myth and identity of the state. Khang-chen-dzod-nga  means the five treasures represented by five summits of this gigantic mountain. According  to tradition the five treasures are salt, precious stones, religious scripts, medicines and grains and invincible armour. The natural environment  in which the Sikkimese live have made them to revere, fear and worship this mountain. They believe that their prosperity even their lives depend on the good humour of the deity, for he has the power to destroy human habitations with devastating floods and avalanches, wash away their bridges and ruin their crops by sending terrible hail storms down the valleys. 

Kanchendzonga is portrayed as a fiery red - countenanced deity with a crown of five skulls, riding the mythical snow lion and holding aloft the banner of victory. Esoteric  masks, flashing silks, opulent brocades and embroidered boots are the costumes of the dancers. The dancers are all male. In this warrior Dance the warlike pomp and panoply, the war deity resplendent the flaming robes, the fantastic Snow lion, comprise the essence of the dance. This mask dance is termed as Singhi Dance i.e. Lion Dance by Nepalese. They visualise the ferocious god of Kanchanjunga riding over a lion and hence call this dance as Singhi Dance.

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