Buddhist Festivals included as holidays in Sikkim Government Calendar
- Losar: Losar is the New Year which falls in the 1st month of the lunar calender. This festival is normally observed by the Tibetan and Sherpa Buddhist to mark the end of the
current year and the beginning of the New Year with festivities.
- Sonam Lhochar: This festival is observed by the Tamang Buddhists as the
beginning of the New Year as per their tradition. It falls on the
Basanta Panchami of Manjushri Lunar Calendar based
on the Nature worship and is celebrated throughout the State.Their graceful
Damphu (a traditional hand drum) dance is performed to make this festival a
cheerful and joyous occasion.
- Saga Dawa: This festival is specially held to mark the holiest occasion of
Buddhism which is coincided by Lord Buddhas birth, enlightenment and attainment of the Nirvana. This festival falls on the 15th day of the 4th month of the lunar year.
- Drukpa Tshezhi: this festival is to commemorate the anspicious day on
which Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon of four Noble Truths viz Dukha Satya, Samudaya Satya, Nerodh Sataya and Marga Sataya to his five deciples. This is observed on the
4th day of the 6th month of the lunar year.
- Guru Rinpoche's Trungkar Tshechu: This is a birth anniversary of Lord Guru Padma Sambhava, the founding father of Buddhism in the Himalayas. Normally prayers are offered every month on the 10th day in all the Buddhist Monasteries in Sikkim as Tshechu for peace and
- Tendon Lho Rum Faat: This festival is celebrated in the full moon day of
the 7th month of the lunar calendar in honour of Mount Tendong (in South Sikkim)
as the saviour of the Lepchas. It is said that, long ago, a great flood filled
up the entire valley due to a blockage of the two main rivers in the southern
lands. This caused the level of the water to rise higher each day threatenig the
lives of the people in the region. In a desperate attempt to save their way of
life, the Lepcha people climbed up the Tendang hill and prayed to mother nature
to save them. It is believed firmly among the Lepchas that the Kanchenjunga
Range arose from the horns of a deity and saved them during the Great Flood. Even today,Lepchas join togather and offer their prayers for safeguarding the land and its people from
the destructive forces of Nature.
- Pang Lhabsol: Pang Lhabsol is celebrated on the 15th day of the 7th month of the Lunar Calendar. It's true concept is to Honour the Gods and the goddesses of nature as well as
the Guardian deities of the Hidden Land i.e. Sikkim. The festival is held with pujas by the Lamas and Lepcha bongthing to propitiate the deity led by the Godly Spirit of Mount Kanchanjunga. During the worship a traditional sword dance called ‘Pangtoed Chham’ is offered to entertain Gods and the Guardian deities with hymns.
- Lhabab Dhuchen:
Lhabab Düchen is one of the four festivals commemorating four events in the life of the Buddha, according to Tibetan traditions. Lhabab Düchen occurs on the
22nd day of the ninth month on a Tibetan calendar.
This is a Buddhist festival celebrated to observe the descent of Buddha from heaven back to earth. Buddha had left for heaven at the age of 41, having ascended to The Heaven of Thirty-Three (Trayastrimsa) in order to give teachings to benefit the gods in the desire realms and to repay the kindness of his mother by liberating her from Samsara. He was exhorted by his follower and representative Maugalyayana to return, and after a long debate managed to return. This is considered to be one of the eight great deeds of the Buddha. He returned to earth by a special triple ladder prepared by Viswakarma, the god of machines. On Lhabab Duchen, the effects of positive or negative actions are multiplied ten million times. It is part of Tibetan Buddhist tradition to engage in virtuous activities and prayer on this day.
- Kagyed Dance: This is celebrated by the Sikkimese on the
10th month of the lunar year or on the eve of the Lossung Festival. Kagyed is a Sadhana dedicated to eight Manifestations of the Tantric Deities followed by a mystic Mask dance signifying the exorcism of the evil spirits for the well being of the Buddha's creed and it's followers.
- Losoong/Namsung: This fesitval is normally observed in the
first week of the 11th month of the Lunar Year. The
Bhutias call it 'Losoong' and the Lepchas called it 'Namsung' which means new-year celebration. The festival marks the end of the harvest season and also marks the end of the farmers year. In fact this is a New Year for the indigenous Lepcha-Bhutias. They celebrate this event with their traditional game
of Archery, feasting and dancing.
- Nyenpo Gudzom: This event signifies a short span of time that is
considered as bad hours and lasts about 12 hours across the
6th and 7th day of the losoong. As per astrological description, it is said
that the "Human body is composed up of 4 elements viz earth, water, fire and air
and during these indicated hours, a strong elementary friction takes place in human body
causing a person to feel dull, feeble and weak. In such a state no work can be
done properly". The people avoid any kind of the routine work and just let the bad time pass
by staying home during these hours.