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.
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.
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.