Considered to be one of the most important festivals of North East Indian state of Sikkim, Losoong or Namsoong marks the beginning of the Sikkimese New Year and is celebrated with great joy and fervour all across the region. The festival coincides with the end of the harvesting season and provides for the much-needed time of merriment and excitement for all the farmers who have worked hard throughout the year.
For visitors and travellers seeking a rendezvous with the unique Sikkimese culture, Losoong undoubtedly makes for a great retreat offering them an unmatched spectacle of traditional folk dances, religious rituals & ceremonies and off-course a lifetime opportunity to gorge on the delicious Sikkimese cuisine. In-fact it won’t be incorrect to say that today, Losoong has gained a reputation of being one of the most valued festival tour destinations in North East India, getting a footfall of thousands of tourists from across the globe every year.
Losoong festival was once only confined to the Bhutia community; gradually it spread to the Lepchas and now, it is also celebrated across other minor tribes of not only Sikkim but also Darjeeling and Nepal. It is one of the most significant festivals for the farmers, providing them an opportunity to rejoice and celebrate their harvest. Though the merry-making happens privately among family members and friends, there is still an aura of festivity all around with monasteries and monks gearing up for the celebrations and various local sports competitions; colourful flags and festoons are dotted all around the streets and provide for a wonderful sight sitting against the backdrop of the snowy mountains.
The dates of the Losoong festival are based on the Tibetan Lunar Calendar and typically, it falls on the 18th day of the 10th lunar month, which is usually December. The festivities last for about 4 days with cultural events taking place in monasteries like Rumtek and Tsuklakhang Palace.
The traditions and rituals of Losoong have primarily been adapted from rather another much famous festival of Sikkim, Losar that actually marks the beginning of the Tibetan New Year. Cham dances performed by the Buddhist Monks are this festival’s biggest highpoints, offering a spectacular extravaganza of colourful and vibrant attires, an eclectic folk music and heart-pounding acrobat movements by the masked dancers. Archery competitions and a delectable spread of authentic Sikkimese cuisine is also part of the festivities and which is definitely looked forward to by all the visitors and tourists.