Sikkim, the state of the multiracial has acclaimed the national and global appreciation for its indigenous heritage and traditions. The whole population of Sikkim can divide into several ethnic groups. Each of those groups has a language, culture, heritage, traditions, and therefore dance forms of their own. The gaiety celebrations and festivities present a plethora of opportunities to witness the normal folk dance of Sikkim.
The range of the ethnic groups presents a varied and unique dance form which widely acknowledged by the Sikkimese. Diverse dance Sikkim signifies harmony, love, integrity, and mutual respect amongst the multiracial. The whole population of Sikkim can broadly divide into three major groups Bhutias, Nepalis and Lepchas which have their own distinct language, cultural programs, and dance forms.
Popular Folk Dance of Sikkim
1. Chu Faat Dance
This dance is specifically performed on the 15th day of the 7th month of the Buddhist calendar of the North. The Lepcha community performed this dance to dedicate the height of Mount Kanchenjunga along with its companions Mt Narshing, Mt Kabru, and Mt Simbrum. These peaks are believed to contain minerals, medicine, salt, and food grains. And so, their power is widely known in the form of dance.
2. Sikmari Dance
The Lepchas perform sikmari Dance to admire the sweetness of nature. It’s a type of dance where all the youth of the state gather to perform this dance form to celebrate the beauty of nature.
3. Singhi Cham Dance
Bhutia community was being herdsmen have a robust affinity towards animals. The Singhi Cham dance is performed to show respect towards the mythical snow lion which is only found in the Trans Himalayan region.
4. Yak Cham Dance
As its name implies, the Yak Cham dance is performed by the Bhutia community to honor the Yak. There are many families hooked into the Yak for their survival by using Yak’s wools in their daily life. This is why there is a special dance that celebrates the Yak. This traditional dance depicts the connection between the herdsman and the Yak.
5. Denzong Gnenha Dance
The Denzong Gnenha may be a religious dance to show the deep faith of the Bhutia community in their indigenous Gods. The sweetness of nature is celebrated by the dancers wearing unique headgear made by the Sikkimese women.
6. Tashi Yangku Dance
Tashi Yangku believed to bring good destiny to the land. Bhutia community believes that there are several Gods also as Goddess who can control the natural phenomenon like floods, landslides, droughts, snowfalls etc. The Tashi Yangku dance is supposed to alleviate the Gods for continuing prosperity and peace in the region.
7. Khukuri Naach
The name Khukuri means bravery in Sikkim. This is often basically a warrior dance and demonstrates the way soldiers march for the battle. Each dancer carried a Khukuri with them as a signifier of victory.
8. Maruni Dance
The Maruni dance is one of the oldest dances in Sikkim performed by the Sikkim. This dance is performed during the Tihar festival by the Sikkim community as well as family occasions like marriages and births. The dance celebrates the concept of the victory of excellent over evil.
9. Chukey Naach
It’s one of the most popular folk dances of the Sikkimese. Young girls and boys perform this dance. This dance form may be a part of every fair or Mela festivals. The children wear flowers on their bodies and heads and dance to the beats of many musical instruments.
Folk Musical Instruments of Sikkim
Sikkim is extremely rich in folk musical instruments, but it’s very difficult to trace the first musical instrument of the state because all primitive people everywhere in the world seem to have made music of some sort.
Folk musical instruments exist only in space, not in time. Consistent with the myth of Mundhum of the Limboo community, the primary musical instrument was a bamboo harp known as Simikla Koom (Binayo in Khas Language) made for their sister Tetlara Lahadongna, by the sons of Sawa Yukphung Kemba, namely – Samdang Khewa and Lingdang Khewa for his or her sister Tetlara Lahadongna in antiquity.
The parable says that the next instrument was the Niyara Hongsing Ke of Lokpha Temba and Hongpha Temba brothers, who danced around the main pillar of the new house to protect the newly constructed house from the evil spirits.
In another myth of Mundhum, it’s also said that Yeba and Yema Limboo priests came to the village of Sawa Yethangs the primitive men with their gear Yegeysing pole tied with Niyara Hongsing Ke to drive away the evil spirits from the villages. Similarly, there is a variety of myths about the origin of musical instruments amongst the different communities living in Sikkim in antiquity.
String instruments played with scratching on the strings. String instruments played with a bow, rubbing on the strings.
Wind instruments are played by blowing the air and tuning the node with fingers. Wind instruments are played by blowing the air without tuning the node with fingers.
Solid instruments like sticks and cymbals played by beating with sticks or metals.
Hollow wood or metal drums covered one side or each side with animal skin with Khari pasted on the Skin. Hollow wood or metal drums covered one side or each side with animal skin but without Khari pasted on the Skin.
The Sarangi formed out of a single hollowed block of wood. The instrument features a roughly rectangular slightly waisted body and broad fretless neck generally carved from a single piece of wood.