The People Of Sikkim their culture and religions
The People Of Sikkim have their culture and religions.
Sikkim has a blend of diverse communities, cultures, religions, and customs. Sikkim is an excellent example of harmonious living between people from different areas and regions. The people of Sikkim are known as Sikkimese. The leading communities in Sikkim are the Lepchas, Bhutias, and Nepalese. However, some Plainsmen have settled here, as they own businesses in the urban areas and are in government service. Sikkim’s development with roads, bridges, buildings, and hydropower saw an influx of migrant labourers from the plains and Nepal. We will be discussing the three cultural communities and their lifestyles.
The Lepchas are believed to be the original inhabitants of Sikkim. They resided in Sikkim long before the migration of Bhutias and Nepalese. The Lepchas’ original religion was of the Mune or bone faith, similar to pagans. They used to worship spirits of the mountains, rivers, and forests. Later on, they converted to Buddhism and Christianity. The earlier religion could explain why these people prefer to live in a healthy environment.
The Lepchas form only 13% of Sikkim’s total population; they are concentrated in Sikkim’s central part. The prominent places of the Lepchas are Lachen, Lachung River valleys, and Dickchu valley. They lead an honest life. The men wear a dress known as Pagi, a cotton dress in strips. The women wear a two-piece dress. They speak the “Lepcha” language, which isn’t widely used. They are very good at archery.
The Bhutias are people of Tibetan origin. These people migrated to Sikkim sometime during the 15h century from the Kham province in East Tibet. They mostly populate the Northern part of Sikkim. They speak the “Sikkimese” language, which is from the Tibeto Burman group. The Bhutia population dominates in large numbers in the villages, compared to the Lepchas. The Bhutia houses are rectangular and are called “Khin” in their language.
The men’s traditional dress is called “Bakhu,” a loose cloak of a garment with full sleeves. The women folk wear a silk blouse called a “Honju” inside a loose gown type garment. The garment can be cotton, silk, or brocade. Sikkim has incorporated the Bhutias’ religion. They constitute about 16% of the total population of Sikkim. The Bhutias regard priesthood as both their academic as well as spiritual choice.
The Nepalese came into Sikkim long after the Lepchas and Bhutias. They migrated to Sikkim in hordes and rapidly emerged as the leading community. The Nepalese constitute 67% of the total population of Sikkim. They started terrace farming in the state. The Nepalese community began cardamom, a critical cash crop cultivation. The Nepalese are divided into castes for the Hindus, such as Brahmins, Chettris, Damai, Kami, and Sarki, while other ethnic groups such as Gurungs, Tamangs, Rais, Limbus, and Magars have their clans and sub-clans.
Most of this population practice Hinduism, while the rest practise Buddhism in some ethnic groups. They speak the Khas language, somewhat similar to Hindi and are understood and communicated throughout Sikkim. The men wear a traditional dress consisting of a long double-breasted tunic below the waist known as Daura and a long pair of trousers known as Suruwal. The women’s traditional clothing comprises a double-breasted blouse known as “Chou Bandi Cholo” and either a saree or sarong; they often use a shawl to wrap themselves.