Dances of Sikkim

Dances of Sikkim – With the total, population of Sikkim categorized into three major groups namely the Lepchas, Bhutias and the Nepalis; the state automatically becomes a multicultural one. Each of this community has its own language, culture and dances. Lepcha, the earliest inhabitants of the land have the following set of dances to be performed on religious or family functions.

Chu Faat Dance
Mount Khangchenjunga, the life force of the state is honored by the people of Lepcha community in the form of this dance. The mount along with four of its associate peaks namely Mt. Pandim, Mt. Kabru, Mt. Simbrum and Mt. Narshing is revered via this age old dance. Believed to be the warehouse of five hidden treasures like Salt, Medicine, Minerals, Sacred books and Food grains, these snowy peaks are honored by the dancers carrying butter lamps and green bamboo leaves. Performed on the fifteenth day of the seventh month of the Northern Buddhist calendar, this ritualistic annual feature is accompanied by devotional songs.

Another famous dance of the community is the Sikmari Dance which is a customary one. Youth of the state presents this dance to celebrate both love and nature of the region.

The Bhutia community of Sikkim has the following set of dances :

Singhi Chaam
Also known as the Snow Lion Dance, this dance pays homage to the sacred Mount Khangchendezonga and its four associate peaks. These peaks together resemble a legendary snow lion, an important cultural symbol of Sikkim.

Yak Chaam
This is a dance performed by the Bhutias to honor Yak, an animal they are dependent upon for survival. Depicting the yak, this dance projects the simple life style of the herdsman in the mountains.

Denzong Gnenha is another popular dance form of the Bhutias that depicts their astute faith in their gods and gurus along with the peaceful and joyous nature of the community. Bhutias invoke good fortune and prosperity to bothe themselves and their land by performing the Tashi Yangku dance. Nepalis of Sikkim are the Nepali refugees of the land who have the following dances.

Khukuri Naach
As the very name implies, Khukuri is a symbol of bravery. Thus, a warrior dance that Khukuri Naach is, it is performed to give a religious touch to the sending off of the soldiers going to the battle. These warriors are also given a Khukuri to be carried with them as it signifies victory.

Maruni dance is the oldest and most popular one of the Nepalis. Though associated with the Tihar festival, it has now come to be performed on family occasions like marriages. Commemorating the victory of good over evil, the dancers in this dance are dressed in colorful costumes and magnificent ornaments. Accompanied by “Dhatu Waray” or a clown, the dancers visit the nearby houses. A nine instrument orchestra known as “Naumati Baja” also accompanies them at times.

Chutkey Naach is another very popular folk form of the Nepalis. Young boys and girls usually perform this dance in the open air during harvest, local fairs and festivals.