Barahimizong is a festival observed by the Mangar Community in Sikkim. One of the most significant festivals for this tribe, it is celebrated as a day when Mangar people come together to pay homage to their forefathers and kuldevtaas by performing various religious rituals and rites. These ceremonies are followed by a number of cultural performances and on-the spot competitions. Traditional Mangar food is also an integral part of the celebrations and provide for an exotic treat to avid foodies and gastronomes.
The first Barahimizong Festival was held in 1998 with the prime objective of keeping alive, the cultural and traditional heritage of the community. It was with the efforts of the “Akhil Sikkim Mangar Sangh (ASMS)” and the “State Government of Sikkim” that the festival was a great success at its first event itself. Today, Barahimizong has reached even greater heights and provides for a wonderful spectacle of communal harmony in the state to the outsiders.
Prayers invoking deities and local gods by the Mangar priests on the day of Barahimizong makes for the biggest highlight of the festival. People dressed in their traditional best head to their ancestoral ground and offer these prayers along with a portion of fresh harvest, which is believed to bring good harvest in the upcoming season as well. Once the prayers and religious rituals are over, people immerse themselves in a festive mood by engaging in folk dances and music. Various “on the spot contests” such as painting competitions, singer of the day, best-dressed male & female and cookery contests are also organized, which certainly keep the festive spirits high.
Like any other festival, food is an integral highlight of Barahimizong too and provides for an amazing time to food enthusiasts, giving them opportunity to gorge on traditional Mangar cuisine famous for its fermented curries, rice and a number of pickles.
Barahimizong is celebrated every year on the fifth day of Mangar Purnima, which happens to fall somewhere in the month of December. Mangar people on this day, dress up in their traditional attires and pay their reverence to the almighty by offering prayers at their ancestoral grounds. Offering fresh harvest is also common and which is believed to bring good fortune for the coming days.