Losoong also called Namsoong by the Lepchas is the Sikkimese New Year. It is usually the time when the farmers rejoice and celebrate their harvest. Although the festival is celebrated privately among family members and friends there is an air of festivity all around. The Black Hat dance takes place at this festival commemorating the victory of good over evil, with ‘chaams’ held in many monasteries two days prior to Losoong.
The festival of Lossong is mostly celebrated in the month of December every year with traditional gaiety and colour both by the Lepchas and Bhutias. Certain competitions are also held in traditional skills, such as, archery and bouts of merry making go on for days.
Also known as ‘Sonam Losoong’, this is the main festival of Bhutia community in Sikkim. The Bhutia New Year or Losoong occurs between 25th to 29th day of the tenth month of the Tibetan year. This period also marks the winter harvest and thereby provides ample leisure time and resources for people to celebrate Losoong with immense fervour and gaiety. It is also the time when farmers pay their obeisance to the Gods with the offerings of the first parts of crops and fruits, seeking protection and prosperity for the good harvests. Main attraction of Losoong are the Chaam dances that are performed in the monasteries, notable being at the Palace (Tsulakhang), Phodong and Rumtek. Men folk adorn attires of mystical forms and recreate Gods, while the dance performance symbolise the exorcizing of the evil and welcome good spirits of the New Year. Another special event corresponding the festival is the Black Hat/ Chena Chaam dances held at Enchey, Ralong, Phodong and Rumtek monasteries. These dancing ceremonies are held 2 days prior to Losoong and they celebrate the victory of good over evil. Archery competitions are organised during the festival period. The entire households of the villages gather at their respective monasteries and attend to this ceremony with their share of offerings.
Generally people are seemed to be engrossed in the festivities that are filled with special feasts, wearing new clothes and paying visits to friends and relatives.
Celebration Venues & Dates:
- Celebrations are mainly held in monastery Phodong, Phensang, Ralang, Gyalshing, Pelling, Kewzing, Sang, etc.
- 1st day of eleventh Buddhist month falls in December