The northeastern state of Sikkim is home to some of the most remarkable sights, fresh surroundings, and the incredibly rich culture and traditions. It is also home to some of the most magnificent glaciers, a plethora of biodiversity, and a unique lifestyle allowing a curious traveler to explore this wonderful place in the best possible manner. Although this state is visit able throughout the year making travel plans to Sikkim especially during the festive season is a whole new and different experience.
The festivals and fairs celebrated in northeast India beautifully displays the age-old traditions and culture in the most wholesome manner. No matter what significance the festival may have it is celebrated with great vibrancy, brotherhood, and peace among the people.
Here are some festivals in Sikkim around which you can plan a holiday experience with your friends, family and loved ones:
List of Most Famous Festivals in Sikkim
Saga Dawa (End May / Early June)
This is not only one of the most awaited festivals of the region but it also holds immense value not just for one reason but 3 deeply spiritual reasons. This festival is a holy day for the Mahayana sect of Buddhists and this is also the day when Buddhists offer their prayer in the monasteries and light up lamps signifying the 3 most significant events that can be associated with the existence of Lord Buddha. These 3 events that are celebrated include – Buddha’s birth. His enlightenment event and his passing day or the day he attained Mahaparinirvana. As a ritual this festival is celebrated during the 4th full moon day as per the Buddhist calendar. One can experience this festival in Gangtok where a large scale celebration takes place.
Losoong Festival (December)
Losoong is undoubtedly one of the most popular festivals of Sikkim which is also the most awaited among the locals here. This particular festival marks the commencement of the vibrant and fun-filled Sikkimese New Year. This explains the immense joy and vigour with which people here celebrate this festive occasion. The local communities and villagers who earn their living through agriculture also celebrate it with immense harmony because this is also the time when the farmers harvest their produce hence doubling the happiness and merriment. This festival is also marked with different performances of traditional folk dances, singing, performing various rituals, and enjoying the delicious local Sikkimese cuisines. Each year the date of Losoong is different and is decided as per the Tibetan calendar (lunar) but it generally falls in between the 18th and 10th day of the lunar month for 4 days when one can even experience fun performances at Rumtek Monastery and Tsuklakhang Palace.
Losar is a word derived from the Tibetan language meaning New Year in the English language. This particular festival coincides with the end of the harvest season and results in providing some much-needed relaxation and relief from all their hard work and lengthy testing patience. Considered to be one of the most awaited festivals in this northeastern charming state of Sikkim, this festival also goes on to prove the fact that most of these celebrations are deeply rooted with the land among the local communities and tribes since it is a source of their livelihood and something that they have been doing since generations. This festival is especially special to all the Tibetan Buddhists residing here who perform various traditions as a way of paying ode to the higher power above. They pray for being blessed with a good harvest and a prosperous agricultural season ahead.
Tendong Lho Rum Faat (August)
Considered to be one of the oldest practiced and ancient Sikkim festivals this celebration that pans among the people living in cities as well as villages, takes place to mark the saving of the earliest inhabitants belonging to the Lepcha tribe were saved from a flash flood that lasted for 40 days and 40 nights on the Tendong hills. The entire state gets encapsulated with a sense of deep spirituality and the streets are filled with people performing various different traditions. The best, most engaging, and adventurous part of this celebration is when a trekking expedition goes up to the hills of Namchi in southern Sikkim where all the primary ceremonies and sacred rituals take place from Ravangla. This is also considered to be the main highlight of this festival.
In the local language the word Bhumchu translates into a very sacred pot of hot water this may be referring to the fact that during the ritualistic ceremonies a pot of hot water is involved. Just like every other festivals celebrated in Sikkim, this is also celebrated with equal if not more excitement, vigor, pomp, and show. The main focus of Bhumchu remains the cultural and traditional ceremonies which take place during the entire duration of this local festival. The first day of this festival is marked with the monks of Tashiding Monastery opening up the vase holding the sacred water. People say that this method is utilized to predict and read the forecast pertaining to the oncoming days of the year. During the 2nd day of this festival this particular holy pot is then filled up with the water from the sacred river that flows close to the holy shrine. This is considered to be one of the most zealous and colorful festivals in Sikkim and should definitely be experienced once in a lifetime by a traveler.
Other Festivals in Sikkim
Being a multi-ethnic state and serving as a home to numerous and a diverse range of populations from different parts of the nation, there are numerous festivals big and small that can not only be celebrated with local tribesmen and also along with everyone residing here. Some festivals that were left out are – Ram Navami, Indrajatra Festival, Pang Lhabsol, Tihar (a unique festival honoring animals), Mangan Music Festival, paragliding festival, and many more that holds equal value in the life of the people residing here. No matter what time of the year you plan on visiting Sikkim but with the right research you will also get to experience a different face of Sikkim altogether.