Kagyed Dance

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The Kagyed dance is a customary dance festival celebrated annually in the state of Sikkim. It falls on the 28th and 29th day of the tenth month of the Tibetan calendar. According to the English calendar, it falls in December. It is performed in the name of eight Tantrik Gods and Goddesses commonly known as Kagyed. Lamas perform dances and sing songs in different monasteries.  They also offer prayers requesting these deities to save human beings from the evil spirits and bless them for good health and fortune.

Kagyed dance is celebrated particularly at the Old Rumtek Monastery, Phodong Monastery, and the Tshuklakhang monastery in Gangtok.  The celebrations commence two days before the onset of Losoong, the Sikkimese New Year. The highlight of the festival is that the monks dressed in traditional attires with ceremonial swords and masks perform Chham. They perform swiftly and gracefully in perfect coordination with their fellow dancers. These dances(Chham) depict the narratives from the Buddhist mythology, particularly from the chronicles of Guru Padmasambhava.

The Chham is not only a symbol of victory but it is also believed that those who witness it are supposedly blessed with good health and wealth. It eventually comes to a closure with the burning of effigies made with flour, wood, and paper. Several variants of Chhams are performed at different festivals.  One thing common in all is that the masks represent scores of human, deities, and animal faces enacting an interesting story from Buddhist mythology.

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