Dongsala celebrated at Shakungsaya Mangkhim

Namchi, 14 Sept:

The Rai community celebrated one of their more important festivals, ‘Dongsala’, today at Shakungsaya Mangkhim, Chemchey, South Sikkim. The festival is popularly known as ‘Udhauli’.

During the festival, offerings of all the newly harvested crops are made to the spirits of their ancestors at Mangkhim, the Rai community temple. Udhauli is a way of giving thanks to nature for providing them with a good harvest. The puja is performed by a Mangpa and Mangma. Paruhang and Sumnima are worshipped as the primordial parents.

Udhauli is an annual festival celebrated by the Kirat community of eastern Nepal marking the migration of animals and birds downwards to low altitude towards warmer regions as winter hits their homeland. Udhauli Parva falls on Marga Sukla Purnima every year.

The daylong programme today had the presence of Mrs. Tika Maya Chamling as chief guest accompanied by Chairman Gagan Rai, RN Rai, Uttam Pradhan, SDN Managing Director Roshan Rai and Mingma Fan Club president HB Rai. Members of the Rai community from different places, Rai association and organisation members were also present during the function.

Speaking to SummitTimes, Akhil Kirat Rai Sangh [AKRS] advisor RN Rai explained that the Rai community are worshippers of nature. The Dongsala celebration is a prayer to Mother Nature for healthy crops and protection from natural calamities. As a part of the puja, prayers are offered to the Supreme Power for peace and protection and for the well-being of all the living and non-living things of the universe. Offerings of sweets and foodgrains are also made.

During today’s function, various artists performed a special “Sili” dance, playing various musical instruments like Dhol, Jhyamta, etc. One of them is the ‘Chasum Sili’, performed by women as a prayer to Mother Earth for ensuring a good harvest. They also performed other dances, depicting animals and birds, to express gratitude to the Creator.

Various traditional dishes like Wachipa, Bungchipa, Arakha-Hengmawa [local wines made from millet and maize], roasted pork and other traditional dishes were served to all.

Speaking to SummitTimes, the AKRS Advisor said that the festival has evolved to become a symbol of brotherhood and unity as members of different communities in the state actively take part in the celebrations.

Kick boxer Sushmita Rai was also felicitated by the chief guest during the function. Sushmita Rai recently won a bronze medal at an international event held in South Korea.