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Chaite Dasain or Ramnavami
Observed to commemorate the birth of the Hindu God Rama, this festival is celebrated
by holding Melas or fares at various places. One place where a small Mela is held during
this occasion is Tendong when villagers from surrounding areas undertake the arduous
trek up to the peak. For Businessmen Ramnavami marks the end of the financial year during which the books of accounts are closed.
Raksha Bandhan
Another festival that has its origins in the Hindu heartland of India, it is becoming quite popular with the people of Sikkim. Sisters tie holy threads to the wrists of their brothers and wish for their long and prosperous life.
This festival commemorates the birthday of Lord Krishna. temples are decorated with colorful lights and prayers are held in various temples across the state. The birth of Lord Krishna took place in the mid-night of janamastami.
Vishwa Karma Puja
This festival takes place on 17th September every year and honors Vishwa Karma-The God of Machines. Statues of this diety are put up in temporary sheds called pandals and worshipped especially by those who are involved in handling machines like drivers and mechanics.
Rangey Mela
A little known festival, it is unique to Namchi. Held in the month of July, an effigy of Rangey Bhoot (ghost) is burnt at Namchi Bazaar, a day before the Mela.
This fortnight long festival usually falls in the month of October. Also known as Durga Puja, this festival symbolizes the victory of the Hindu Goddess Durga over the forces of the evil. On the first day barley seeds are sown in the soil and their growth a few inches foretells a good harvest. The next important day, a week later is Fulpati meaning "the day of flowers". Maha Astami and Kala Ratri follow Fulpati. The next day is Navami i.e the ninth day. The 10th day of the festival is known as Vijay Dashmi and also marks the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana. During this day people smear their foreheads with colored rice and the barley sprouts which were sown on te first day of Dasain are picked and placed over the ears.
Tihar is the "Festival of Lights" and symbolizes the return of Lord Rama to his hometown from exile after victory over Ravana and covers a period of five days. The festival honors certain animals on successive days. The first day known as "Kak Tihar" is dedicated to crows and they are offered rice and some if caught are garlanded. On second day, which is known as "Kukkur Tihar", dogs are garlanded. On the third day, the cows are honored with garlands and their horns are painted in bright colors. It is the turn of the bullocks on the fourth day. Deepawali, which falls on the third day, is considered to be the most important day when Goddess Lakshmi comes visiting every home which is lit bright with candles and electric lights.

The fifth day is also known as Bhai Tika in which brothers visit the homes of their sisters and they apply tikas vermillion to each others foreheads. It is also an occassion of exchanging gifts. During Tihar, traditional carols called Bhailo and Deusi are sung.
The Rai community in Sikkim celebrate Sakewa to invoke the blessings of Goddess Chandi for an abundant crop and favorable weather. Sakewa falls on baisakh purnay (fifteenth day of the fifth month of Nepali calendar) coinciding with the sowing season. Sakewa can therefore also be interpreted as Bhoomi puja. The Mangpa (priest) performs the prayer. One person beats the hongken (drum) loudly. The mangpa then dances to the single drum beat. The silis, as the dance is called consists of hundred and eight characters of various animals and birds. After the performance of the puja, the worshippers partake to wachipa which is a dish made of chicken feathers.
The Rais also observe Sakewa in their homes. Three lungs (stones) are installed in the prayer room to make a furnace called Samkha. The lungs have unique names: Suptulung, Taralung and Shakhalung. While invoking the blessings of the goddess, a fire is lighted in the furnace and the names of the forefathers are called out aloud while offering food, millet, ginger and water. The pot used for the water is called Wabuk or Salawa.
Buddhist Festivals
Saga Dawa
This is the "Triple Blessed Festival" and is considered as the holiest of the holy Buddhist festivals. On this day, in different years of his life, Lord Buddha took birth, achieved enlightenment and passed away attaining Nirvana; three important events celebrated in the festival of Saga Dawa. This festival is held on the full moon of 4th month of the Buddhist Calendar around the end of may and early June.
Drukpa Tsheshi
This festival celebrates Buddha's first preaching of the four Noble Truths to his first five disciples. in a deer park at Sarnath. The first is the Noble Truth of suffering, the second is the truth of the origin of suffering Karma and Delusion and their causes, the third is the cessation of the suffering or the attainment of Nirvana and the fourth is the truth of the Eight Fold Path leading to Nirvana. This festival is held on the 4th day of the 6th month of the Buddhist calendar around August. At Gangtok, this festival is marked by prayers at the Deer park and at a secluded place called Muguthang in extreme North Sikkim, this festival is celebrated holding a Yak race.
Guru Rinpoche's Trungkar Tsechu
This birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, is celebrated in Sikkim with great pomp. A procession, which originates from the Chorten, carrying the statue of Guru is taken out around the town of Gangtok. In the evening dramas and concerts depicting the life of the Guru are held.
Pang Lhabsol
This festival is quite unique to Sikkim. It was popularised by the third Chogyal of Sikkim, Chakdor Namgyal. In this festival the snowy range of Kachendzonga is worshipped for its unifying powers. This festival marks the signing of the treaty of brotherhood between the Lepchas and bhutias by Khye Bumsa and Thikung-Tek when the local deities were invoked to witness the occasion. Infact Pang means witness. On this day, the guardian deity is portrayed by masked Lama dancers as a fiery red-faced deity with a crown of five skulls, riding a snow lion. To lighten the mood of the spectators, jesters called "Atchars" play antics during the Chaams. This festival is held on the 15th day of the 7th month around the end os August.
Lhabab Dhuechen
This festival symbolizes the Descent of Buddha from the heaven of the thirty Gods after visiting his mother. Duechen means "festival", Lha means "heaven" and Bab means "descent".
Losoong and the Chaams (Lama Dances)
Losoong marks the end of the harvest season and also the end of the tenth month of the Tibetan year. As it falls in the eleventh month of the Tibetan calendar it is not the real New Year in the sense of the word. Also known as Sonam Lossar, it is in fact an agriculture New Year when rice and grains are plentiful and the weather is moderate in sharp contrast to the actual new year lossar which falls in a lean season and when it is extremely cold.
It is the Tibetan New Year also known as Gyalpo Lossar, and is marked with lot of gaiety and festivity. It falls normally in the month of february. At Pemayangste, Chaams are held two days before the lossar. These Chaams are similar to the one held during Losoong.
This festival is held at the monastery at Tashiding in the month of January or February. During the festival, the pot containing the holy water is opened by the lamas of the monastery. The level of water in the pot foretells the future for the forthcoming year. If the water is to the brim, it prophesizes bloodshed and disturbances. If the pot is almost dry, it signifies famine and if it is half-full, it foretells a year in which peace and prosperity will prevail. Bum in fact means "pot or vase" and chu means "water". A part of the holy water is distributed amongst the gathering of devotees and the pot is replenished with river water and sealed at the end of the festival to be opened only in the next Bumchu.
The Kalchakra Puja
To attain Nirvana or Enlightenment and Freedom from suffering, one of the paths offered is Tantrayana which emphasizes the Tantric or mystic aspect of Buddhism involving complex and esoteric rituals. Anutara Yoga Tantra or the Supreme Tantra is one of the class of Tantrayana which combines male tantras and female tantras out of which Kalchakra is one of the deities. The rituals and meditations performed to Kalchakra with the ultimate aim of attaining Nirvana or Buddhahood is known as Kalchakra Puja. His Holiness The Dalai Lama is presently the ultimate authority i teachings of Kalchakra Puja which His Holiness performs to initiate the disciples. is Holiness holds the kalchakra Mass Initiation Puja usually once in three years.

Kalchakra deity is usually represented in union with his female consort Viswamata. The body of Kalchakra is blue in color and has multiple necks, shoulders and faces. The many hands of Kalchakra hold various implements. Viswamata, the consort of Kalchakra, has a yellow coloured body, four faces and eight hands.

Like in other Buddhist rituals, the Kalchakra Puja also centers around the Mandala which consists of the rites, offerings and the deities that concern the Puja.
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