Losoong is celebrated across the monasteries in Bhutan, Nepal and India. It is the most important festival among the Bhutias in India and is marked by the traditional Chaam dancing and merry-making. In Sikkim, during the festival of Losoong, often dance forms depict narrativized tales from the life of Guru Padmasambhava.
Etymology of Losoong Festival
Losoong Festival is a traditional festival of the Bhutias, but the Lepchas also celebrate it and call it ‘Namsoong’. The festival is also called ‘Sonam Losoong’.
Tradition of Losoong Festival
Based on the Tibetan Lunar Calendar, Losoong falls on the 18th day of the 10th month, when farmers celebrate the harvest. The festival has been adapted from the traditions and rituals of the Tibetan New Year, Losar. 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 dances symbolize the exorcizing of the evil spirits of the year and the welcoming of the good spirit of the New Year.
Celebration of Losoong Festival
Celebration begins after the priest offers ‘Chi-Fut’, special drink, to the Gods. After the offering to Gods the effigy of the demon King is burnt. Burning the demon represents destroying the evil. Colourful flags and festoons are dotted all around the streets in Sikkim.
Certain competitions are also held in traditional skills, such as, archery and bouts of merry-making lasts for days. The duration of this festival is for 4 days and there are arrangements for cultural programs at monasteries like Rumtek, Phodong and Tsu-La-Khang Palace. The Losoong Festival is incomplete without special delicacies of Sikkim. The delicious local made drinks are also a part of the festivities.