Sikkim is the melting pot of various cultures. Like any other place, its culture is represented by its scrumptious cuisine, lively people, devout religion, jovial language, indigenous art & crafts, melodious music, and vibrant dance. Sikkim has emerged with its own distinct ethnicity even after being influenced by numerous cultures. Besides this, Sikkim boasts of a fusion of different communities, together with their religions. Scroll down to get more information about different facets of Sikkim culture.
Different communities, cultures, religions, and customs find a perfect blend in Sikkim. Here, the principal communities are the Lepchas, the Bhutias, and the Nepalese. The urban areas are influenced by the plainsmen, who have settled there, because of their businesses and Government services. The developmental activities in the state, like construction of roads, bridges, buildings etc, have attracted immigrant laborers from the plains and Nepal as well.
Resembling its overall culture and traditions, Sikkim's cuisine too, has a tint of cuisines of Nepal, India, Bhutan, and Tibet. Rice is the main food the Sikkimese. As per the availability, Meat and dairy products are also consumed. Besides, a complete variety of traditional fermented foods and beverages is an essential part of people's diet. Whatever is produced in Sikkim, like finger millet, wheat, buckwheat, soybeans, barley, potato, vegetable, etc, is used extensively in cooking.
Sikkim is actually a multi-lingual state, where people of diverse communities live cordially. Nepali is the major spoken language in Sikkim. In municipal areas, English is commonly used for day to day communication. Hindi, being the national language, also finds its place in speech. In Sikkim, people use several local dialects, like Tibetan, Bhutia, and Lepcha. English is utilized for all official matters though Hindi is understood and spoken by the majority of people.
Religions play an important role in the life of residents of Sikkim. The two major religions that are followed actively in the state are Buddhism and Hinduism. In fact, Buddhism emerges as the leading religious practice that is practiced by the majority of the Tibetans and the Bhutias. Hinduism is ardently followed by the Nepalese. Apart from Buddhism and Hinduism, religions like Christianity, Muslim, etc, are also practiced by many adherents.
Art and Craft
Sikkim boasts of a rich culture of handicrafts too. Indeed the State Government is making constant efforts to promote the art & crafts of Sikkim. For this, the Handicraft and Handloom Institute has been established; it is solely dedicated to preserve and encourage the traditional cottage art and craft of authentic Sikkimese design. The wide array of handlooms and handicrafts comprise of carpets, wood carved furniture, thankas, and canvas wall hangings.
The Sikkimese are known for their amazing Mask Dance. Besides this, Singhi Chaam and Yak Chaam are the popular dance forms of the Tibetan. The famous dances of the Bhutias are Be Yu Mista, Lu Khangthamo, Gha to Kito, Chi Rimu, and Tashi Zaldha; while the Nepalese enjoy tapping their feet on Maruni, Tamang Selo, Dhaan Naach, Dau Ra Jane, and Sebru Naach. The dance forms like Zo-Mal-Lok, Chu Faat, Kar Gnok Lok, Dharma Jo, Mon Dryak Loks, Tendong Lho Faat, and Mun Hait Lok are enjoyed by the Lepchas.