The Folk dance of Sikkim, a state in northeastern India, reflects the rich cultural heritage of the region.

Here are a few notable folk dances of Sikkim

 

Gha To Kito-Folk dance of Sikkim

Gha To Kito is a traditional Bhutia folk dance of Sikkim. It is performed during weddings and other joyous occasions. Dancers form a circle and move in a circular pattern, accompanied by the beats of traditional musical instruments like the damphu and shing-nye (a type of cymbal). The dance involves both men and women wearing colorful traditional costumes.

Singhi Chham dance-Folk dance of Sikkim

 

Singhi Chham is a traditional folk dance of Sikkim that holds great cultural and religious significance. It is often performed during religious festivals and celebrations, particularly during the annual Pang Lhabsol festival.

The Singhi Chham dance is primarily associated with the Bhutia community of Sikkim and is characterized by its vibrant costumes and intricate masks. The dancers, usually male, dress in ornate attire, including colorful silk brocade robes, jewelry, and headdresses. The most striking aspect of the dance is the elaborate masks worn by the performers, which represent the mythical creature known as the Singhi or snow lion.

The Singhi is a revered symbol in Tibetan Buddhism and is believed to possess strong protective powers. The masks depict the fierce and majestic face of the Singhi, often adorned with intricate designs, vibrant colors, and faux fur. The masks are usually made of wood and are crafted by skilled artisans.

More about the Singhi Chham dance

During the Singhi Chham dance, the performers exhibit a combination of graceful movements, acrobatics, and martial arts-like gestures. The dancers showcase their agility and skill as they depict various mythical stories and legends associated with the Singhi. The dance often includes sequences of jumps, spins, and energetic movements, symbolizing the power and strength of the snow lion.

The accompanying music for the Singhi Chham is provided by traditional instruments such as drums, cymbals, and trumpets. The rhythmic beats of the instruments add to the dramatic and captivating ambiance of the dance performance.

Singhi Chham is not only a form of artistic expression but also serves a religious purpose. It is believed that the dance invokes the blessings and protection of deities, warding off evil spirits and bringing prosperity and good fortune to the community.

The Singhi Chham dance is a visually captivating and culturally significant folk dance that showcases the deep-rooted traditions and beliefs of the Bhutia community in Sikkim. It represents the unique blend of art, mythology, and spirituality that is prevalent in the region.

 

Yak Cham dance-Folk dance of Sikkim

Yak Cham is a traditional folk dance that is performed in Sikkim and other regions influenced by Tibetan culture. The dance is closely associated with the Tibetan Buddhist traditions and is performed during religious festivals and ceremonies.

Yak Cham derives its name from the yak, a significant animal in Tibetan culture known for its strength and endurance. The dance aims to portray the essence and characteristics of the yak through expressive movements and gestures.

During Yak Cham, performers wear elaborate costumes that resemble yaks. The costumes are typically made of fur or wool and are intricately designed to resemble the physical features of the animal. Dancers also wear masks depicting the face of a yak, often with fierce and majestic expressions.

More About Yak Cham Dance-Folk dance of Sikkim

The dance itself consists of choreographed sequences that depict various aspects of Tibetan culture, mythology, and religious beliefs. The movements are characterized by slow, rhythmic steps and graceful postures, imitating the movements of a yak. The performers often incorporate elements of Tibetan martial arts, such as precise footwork and hand gestures, adding a dynamic element to the dance.

The music accompanying Yak Cham is typically played on traditional Tibetan instruments such as cymbals, drums, trumpets, and flutes. The music sets the rhythm and creates a melodic atmosphere that complements the dancers’ movements.

Yak Cham is not merely a form of entertainment; it holds deep religious significance. The dance is believed to invoke the deities and spirits, seeking their blessings, protection, and prosperity. It is considered a way to honor and pay homage to the yak, which is seen as a symbol of strength, resilience, and spiritual power in Tibetan culture.

The Yak Cham dance reflects the rich cultural heritage of Sikkim and its close ties to Tibetan Buddhism. It is a captivating and visually striking folk dance that embodies the traditions, mythology, and spiritual beliefs of the region.

 

Maruni dance-Folk dance of Sikkim

Maruni is a traditional folk dance originating from Nepal but also performed by the Nepali community in Sikkim. It is a vibrant and graceful dance form that is often associated with joyous occasions such as festivals, weddings, and social gatherings.

Maruni dance is characterized by its lively and colorful performances. The dance is primarily performed by women, who dress in elaborate traditional costumes adorned with sequins, beads, and vibrant fabrics. The attire includes a saree or a lehenga (long skirt), along with ornate jewelry, headdresses, and accessories.

The dance movements in Maruni are elegant and expressive, combining graceful hand gestures, footwork, and body movements. The dancers form intricate patterns, circles, and waves as they move in synchrony with the music. The choreography often incorporates elements of storytelling, with the dancers enacting folk tales, love stories, or cultural narratives through their movements.

More About Maruni dance

The music accompanying Maruni dance is typically melodious and rhythmic. It is performed live, using traditional Nepali musical instruments such as the madal (hand drum), sarangi (bowed string instrument), and bansuri (bamboo flute). The music sets the pace and mood for the dance, creating a festive and celebratory ambiance.

Maruni dance is often accompanied by singing, with the dancers and musicians joining in harmonious vocals. The lyrics of the songs sung during the performance often revolve around themes of love, celebration, and the beauty of nature.

The Maruni dance form holds a significant place in the cultural traditions of the Nepali community in Sikkim. It is not only a form of entertainment but also a way to preserve and showcase their cultural heritage. The dance serves as a means of community bonding, celebration, and the transmission of traditional values from one generation to the next.

Over time, Maruni dance has gained popularity beyond its cultural roots and has become a celebrated folk dance form performed in various settings and occasions across Nepal and the Nepali diaspora in regions like Sikkim.

Overall, Maruni dance is a visually captivating and culturally significant folk dance that reflects the grace, beauty, and festive spirit of the Nepali community in Sikkim.

Tamang Selo dance-Folk dance of Sikkim

Tamang Selo is a lively and energetic folk dance that originates from the Tamang community in Nepal and is also performed by the Tamang community in Sikkim. The dance is named after the traditional music genre called “Selo” that accompanies it.

Tamang Selo dance is often performed during festivals, weddings, social gatherings, and other celebratory occasions. It serves as a form of cultural expression and entertainment for the Tamang people, highlighting their rich traditions and heritage.

The dance is characterized by its fast-paced movements, rhythmic footwork, and vibrant costumes. Dancers, both men and women, form a circle or a line and move in synchronization with the lively beats of traditional instruments like the damphu (a handheld drum), madal (hand drum), tungna (a stringed instrument), and flute.

The steps and movements in Tamang Selo are energetic and exuberant. Dancers often incorporate elements of jumping, hopping, and spinning into their routines. The movements reflect the joyful and celebratory nature of the dance, creating an atmosphere of excitement and enthusiasm.

More about Tamang Selo

The traditional costumes worn during Tamang Selo are colorful and eye-catching. Women typically wear a traditional Tamang dress called “chubas,” which consists of a long-sleeved blouse, a wraparound skirt, and a colorful apron. Men usually wear a shirt called “daura” paired with trousers or a traditional skirt known as “lungi.” The dancers also adorn themselves with accessories like necklaces, bracelets, and headpieces.

The music accompanying Tamang Selo dance is upbeat and lively, featuring a fusion of traditional and contemporary tunes. The songs sung during the performance are often in the Tamang language and depict various themes such as love, nature, and everyday life.

Tamang Selo dance not only serves as a form of cultural expression and entertainment but also holds social and community significance. It brings people together, fostering a sense of unity, camaraderie, and pride in their cultural identity.

The dance form has gained popularity beyond its cultural roots and is now appreciated and performed in various parts of Nepal, Sikkim, and among the Tamang diaspora around the world.

In summary, Tamang Selo dance is a dynamic and spirited folk dance that showcases the cultural vibrancy and traditions of the Tamang community. With its lively music, energetic movements, and colorful costumes, it creates an atmosphere of celebration and joy.

 

 

 

Gha To Bhumi dance-Folk dance of Sikkim

Gha To Bhumi dance is commonly performed during festive occasions, weddings, and other joyous celebrations. It is a group dance where both men and women participate, showcasing the collective spirit of the Bhutia community.

The dance involves forming a circle or a line with dancers holding hands or linking arms. They move in a circular pattern, gracefully stepping and swaying to the rhythm of traditional music. The dance is characterized by gentle and synchronized movements, creating a harmonious display.

Dancers wear colorful traditional costumes that reflect the cultural aesthetics of the Bhutia community. The attire includes vibrant silk brocade garments, adorned with intricate patterns and designs. They also wear traditional jewelry, such as necklaces, earrings, and headpieces, adding to the visual appeal of the dance.

The music accompanying Gha To Bhumi dance is typically provided by traditional instruments like the damphu (a handheld drum) and shing-nye (a type of cymbal). The rhythmic beats and melodious tunes of these instruments create an engaging and festive ambiance.

Gha To Bhumi dance represents the cultural heritage and social bonding of the Bhutia community. It serves as a means of expressing unity, joy, and celebration. Through this dance, the Bhutia people celebrate their traditions, foster community harmony, and pass on their cultural legacy to future generations.

It is worth mentioning that the availability of information may vary on certain local or lesser-known dance forms, and details may differ based on specific communities or regions within Sikkim.

 

Chyabrung dance-Folk dance of Sikkim

 

 

Dhokar dance-Folk dance of Sikkim

Dhokar dance is a traditional folk dance performed by the Sherpa community in Sikkim. The Sherpas are an ethnic group known for their mountaineering skills and their contributions to the Himalayan region.

The Dhokar dance is typically performed during festivals, weddings, and other festive occasions. It is a lively and celebratory dance that showcases the cultural traditions and customs of the Sherpa community.

In the Dhokar dance, performers imitate various aspects of Sherpa life and activities. The movements in the dance often depict farming, herding, mountaineering, and other daily activities of the Sherpa people. The dancers exhibit agile footwork, dynamic gestures, and rhythmic steps to represent these activities.

The dance is accompanied by traditional Sherpa music played on instruments such as the damphu (a handheld drum), shing-nye (cymbals), and flutes. The music sets the rhythm and tempo for the dance, creating a lively and joyful atmosphere.

The dancers typically wear traditional Sherpa costumes during the Dhokar dance. The attire may include colorful dresses, jackets, trousers, and ornaments adorned with intricate designs and patterns. The costumes are often made of richly woven fabrics and reflect the cultural aesthetics of the Sherpa community.

The Dhokar dance serves as a means of cultural expression, social bonding, and celebration within the Sherpa community. It helps preserve and promote their cultural heritage, passing on traditional values and customs from one generation to the next.

It’s important to note that the availability of information on specific local or lesser-known dances may vary, and details may differ based on specific communities or regions within Sikkim.

 

Rey Lamso dance-Folk dance of Sikkim

Rey Lamso is a traditional folk dance performed by the Limbu community in Sikkim. The Limbus are an indigenous community with a rich cultural heritage in the eastern Himalayan region.

Rey Lamso dance is often performed during festivals, cultural events, and social gatherings of the Limbu community. It is a vibrant and lively dance form that reflects the joy, celebration, and traditions of the community.

In Rey Lamso, dancers form a circle or a line and move in synchronized patterns and formations. The dance involves rhythmic footwork, hand gestures, and body movements performed with energy and enthusiasm. The dancers create a lively and dynamic display as they move together in harmony.

The music accompanying the Rey Lamso dance is typically provided by traditional instruments such as the madal (hand drum) and tungna (a stringed instrument). The rhythmic beats and melodies of these instruments add to the energetic and festive atmosphere of the dance.

The dancers wear traditional Limbu costumes during Rey Lamso. The attire is colorful and reflects the cultural aesthetics of the community. Women often wear ornate dresses, blouses, and accessories, while men may wear traditional jackets, trousers, and hats. The costumes are adorned with intricate designs and patterns that showcase the craftsmanship and cultural identity of the Limbu people.

Rey Lamso dance is more than just a form of entertainment; it holds cultural significance for the Limbu community. It is a means of expressing their traditions, celebrating their heritage, and fostering community cohesion. The dance serves as a way to pass on cultural knowledge, values, and stories from one generation to the next.

It’s worth mentioning that the availability of information may vary for specific local or lesser-known dances, and details may differ based on specific communities or regions within Sikkim.

 

Tashi Zaldha dance

 

Pangtoed Chaam dance

Pangtoed Chaam, also known as Pangtoed Dance, is a traditional masked dance form that is performed in Sikkim, particularly during the annual Pang Lhabsol festival. Pang Lhabsol is a significant religious festival celebrated by the Bhutia community in honor of Mount Kanchenjunga, the guardian deity of Sikkim.

Pangtoed Chaam is performed by a group of masked dancers, usually men, who wear elaborate costumes and masks depicting various deities, demons, and mythical creatures. The masks are crafted with intricate details, bright colors, and distinct facial expressions that represent the characters portrayed in the dance.

The dance combines elements of theater, music, and storytelling. The performers enact stories and legends from Buddhist mythology, showcasing the eternal struggle between good and evil. They depict battles, triumphs, and the ultimate victory of the virtuous forces.

The dance movements in Pangtoed Chaam are precise, controlled, and synchronized. The dancers execute intricate steps, gestures, and stances that are choreographed to portray the narrative of the performance. The accompanying music is played on traditional instruments such as drums, cymbals, horns, and bells, creating a dramatic and captivating atmosphere.

Pangtoed Chaam holds significant religious and cultural importance. It is believed that by performing this dance, the community pays homage to the deities and seeks their blessings for peace, prosperity, and protection. It also serves as a means of transmitting religious teachings, cultural values, and historical narratives to the younger generations.

The Pangtoed Chaam dance is a visually stunning and spiritually enriching experience, showcasing the unique blend of art, religion, and culture in Sikkim. It reflects the devotion, faith, and cultural heritage of the Bhutia community and serves as a prominent feature of the Pang Lhabsol festival.

Shelo

Shelo is a Nepali folk dance performed during the Basant or spring season.

Young hearts are filled with love and longing when new leaves and buds appear on the trees.

Boys express their love to their lovers.

In the song, they liken the beauty of the girl to the beauty of spring and propose marriage.

After persuasion, they accept the proposal and dance together in the joy of spring. sherpa dance Sikkim

Sherpa dance

Sherpa dance is a unique dance form. The costumes and headgear worn by the dancers are similar to Tibetan costumes.

The difference from Tibetan dance lies in the movement of the feet and the language of the song.

Songs celebrate the colorful flora and fauna of the country, while dances depict the Sherpa lifestyle.

Sherpas are very attached to their country and proud of their traditions.

Pious and devout Sherpas thank God for the beautiful Mount Everest who protects their country with song.

Through their devotional dances, they pray for peace and happiness everywhere.

Damsang Lyang

Here are some key features and characteristics of the “Damsang Lyang” dance:

Attire

 The dancers typically wear colorful and traditional Lepcha costumes. These costumes often include intricately designed garments with vibrant colors and accessories like headgear and jewelry.

Movements

 “Damsang Lyang” is a graceful and rhythmic dance. The dancers perform slow and deliberate movements, often with flowing hand gestures and footwork that reflect the natural beauty and harmony of the Himalayan environment.

Music

 The dance is accompanied by traditional Lepcha music. Musicians may use instruments like the mouth organ, bamboo flute, and drums to provide the musical accompaniment for the dance.

Narrative

 Like many traditional dances, “Damsang Lyang” may tell a story or convey a message. It often reflects the Lepcha community’s connection to nature, their history, or their spiritual beliefs.

Community Participation

 “Damsang Lyang” is not just a performance by a few individuals; it often involves the participation of the entire Lepcha community. It is a way for the community to come together and celebrate their culture and heritage.

Occasions

 The dance is performed during various cultural events, festivals, and social gatherings within the Lepcha community. It is a significant part of their cultural expression and identity.

“Damsang Lyang” and other Lepcha dances are not only a means of entertainment but also a way for the community to pass down their traditions from one generation to the next. These dances play a crucial role in preserving the unique cultural heritage of the Lepcha people and are an integral part of their way of life.

Denzong Neh-Na

“Denzong Neh-Na” is a lively and colorful folk dance that celebrates the beauty, culture, and traditions of Sikkim. The name “Denzong Neh-Na” itself reflects the Sikkimese heritage, as “Denzong” means “Rice,” and “Neh-Na” means “To Harvest.” Therefore, the dance is often associated with the harvest season and the agricultural practices of the region.

Key features of the “Denzong Neh-Na” dance:

Costumes

 The dancers typically wear traditional Sikkimese attire, which includes colorful garments adorned with intricate embroidery and traditional jewelry. The costumes represent the cultural identity of the region.

Music

 The dance is accompanied by traditional Sikkimese music, which includes various traditional instruments like the flute, drums, cymbals, and string instruments. The music adds to the festive atmosphere of the performance.

Movements

 The dance involves graceful and rhythmic movements, with dancers often forming circles or other patterns. The movements are designed to mimic various aspects of daily life, including farming activities and the joy of the harvest.

Expression

 Dancers use facial expressions and hand gestures to convey emotions and tell stories related to the agricultural and cultural life of Sikkim.

Community Participation

 “Denzong Neh-Na” is not just a performance by a few individuals; it often involves the participation of the entire community. It is a way for the people of Sikkim to come together and celebrate their shared heritage.

The “Denzong Neh-Na” dance is an important cultural expression in Sikkim and reflects the deep connection of the Sikkimese people with their land, agriculture, and traditions. It is a vibrant and joyful dance that is performed with great enthusiasm during various festivals and special occasions in the state.

Chu Faat Dance

This is an ancient dance of the Lepcha community of Sikkim, performed in honour of Kanchanjunga and its four associate peaks. The dance is performed on the fifteenth day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar every year. Dancers hold butter lamps and green bamboo leaves during the performance.

Gayley-Yang Dance

The Gayley-Yang Dance depicts the hospitality of the people of Sikkim. The young girls of the village perform this welcome dance to receive Guest of Honour. To pay respect to the guests, locally made beverages like Chhang and Bangchhang are offered to them. Melodious songs accompany the dance.

 

Nyongri – Nyot

Maize cultivation plays a vital role in Sikkim’s agriculture, and the Nyongri-Nyot dance beautifully portrays the entire process. The dance showcases the various steps involved in the agricultural process, from ploughing the fields to weeding and harvesting the crops. The artistes performing the dance wear vibrant Sikkimese costumes and hold different traditional implements in their hands, making the visual representation of the dance even more captivating.

 

Kinchum – Chu – Bomsa

Sikkim’s scenic beauty is beautifully expressed through a popular folk dance. The Lepchas, who live in Sikkim, express their gratitude to God for their beautiful land, which is called Ney Mayal Lyang, meaning a hidden paradise on earth. The land boasts snow-covered mountains, waterfalls, rivers, and brooks, vast green meadows, serene monasteries, sacred caves, and holy lakes, making it a truly wonderful place. During the dance, young boys and girls dressed in colorful traditional costumes perform to the accompaniment of traditional music and singing, providing a unique and vibrant experience.music and singing, providing a unique and vibrant experience.

Ghantu dance

The Ghantu dance is a traditional folk dance from Sikkim that has been patronized by the Gurung community for centuries. This ancient dance form depicts the vibrant lifestyle of the people of the land. The dance is full of energy and excitement, and it is usually performed by young girls dressed in traditional costumes and headgear.

 

 

Sikmari Dance

Tashi Yangku dance

Khukuri Naach

Denzong Dance

Chutkey Dance

 

Musical instrument of folk dance of Sikkim

The folk dances of Sikkim are often accompanied by traditional musical instruments that add rhythm, melody, and a distinct cultural flavor to the performances. Here are some of the musical instruments commonly used in Sikkimese folk dances:

Damphu

The damphu is a handheld drum made of wood or clay. It has a circular frame with a stretched membrane on one side. The damphu is played by striking the membrane with the hands or using sticks. It is a prominent percussion instrument in many Sikkimese folk dances.

Madal

The madal is a cylindrical drum with two heads, played with hands or sticks. It is a versatile instrument and is widely used in folk music and dances across the Himalayan region, including Sikkim. The madal produces a rich and resonant sound.

Tungna

The tungna is a stringed instrument that resembles a small guitar or lute. It has four or five metal strings and is played with fingers or a pick. The tungna adds melodic accompaniment to Sikkimese folk dances, providing a distinctive sound and enhancing the overall musical texture.

Shing-Nye

The shing-nye is a pair of small cymbals made of brass or bronze. They are played by striking them together, creating a shimmering and metallic sound. The shing-nye adds a rhythmic and percussive element to the music, often synchronizing with the movements of the dancers.

Flute

The flute is a wind instrument used in various folk dances in Sikkim. It is a tube-shaped instrument with finger holes. The flute produces melodious tones and is often used to play traditional tunes that accompany the dancers’ movements.

These are just a few examples of the musical instruments commonly associated with Sikkimese folk dances. However, it’s important to note that the specific instruments used may vary depending on the region, community, and nature of the dance performance.

Question Regarding folk dance of Sikkim

 

Question: What is the traditional folk dance of Sikkim?

Answer: The traditional folk dance of Sikkim is known as “Singhi Chham.”

Question: Which community in Sikkim is known for performing the folk dance Singhi Chham?

Answer: The Lepcha community is known for performing the folk dance Singhi Chham in Sikkim.

Question: What is the significance of the Singhi Chham dance in Sikkim?

Answer: Singhi Chham holds both cultural and religious significance in Sikkim, showcasing the rich heritage and traditions of the Lepcha community. It is often performed during religious and cultural festivals.

Question: Can you describe some key features of the Singhi Chham dance?

Answer: Singhi Chham features dancers wearing elaborate costumes and colorful masks representing mythical animals, particularly the mythical snow lion called “Singhi.” The dance involves intricate footwork, symbolic gestures, and is accompanied by traditional music.

Question: During which occasions or events is Singhi Chham commonly performed in Sikkim?

Answer: Singhi Chham is commonly performed during religious and cultural festivals in Sikkim, marking special occasions that hold significance for the Lepcha community.

Question: What does the name “Singhi Chham” signify in the context of the dance?

Answer: The name “Singhi Chham” signifies the mythical snow lion called “Singhi,” which is represented through the masks and symbolism in the dance.

 
 

 

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