Sherpa community in Namche Bazaar celebrated Dumji festival this year June 27 2023 with dance, drinks and merry making to honor the anniversary of Guru Rinpoche’s birth on the lotus flower.
Dumji is celebrated with much enthusiasm by the Sherpa community. Along with the serious rituals and dances performed by the monks, this special festivals takes place in the Khumbu area .
Like all festivals in Nepal, the Dumji festival historically follows the Tibetan Lunar Calendar. The festival generally lasts 4 to 5 days, although there is a preparatory period beforehand.
The first person to start the festival was Lama Sangwa Dorje, who is also the founder of the earliest monasteries of Khumbu region. He first started the festival in Pangboche about 360 years ago, in order to coincide it with the birth anniversary of Guru Rimpoche. The festival has both, the religious as well as community values.
Every fifteen year, the honour traditionally falls to roughly three to eight families to provide drink and sustenance to an entire village or town during these four or five days. Generally, the last 6 days before the festival are a part of the preparatory period, with the community pitching in a hand to help the hosting families make different local foods and drinks. Each family, in turn, has to provide for the festival for the village which is quite costly.
On the first day of the festival, the flagpole is raised at the local monastery, which the villagers or townspeople gather in the early afternoon, the villagers gather at the monastery and the hosting family provides 1kg of rice to each member of the family. The second day: consists of worship and gathering at the monastery after lunch to welcome the head monk, ‘Rinpoche’.
As the celebrations progress, in places like Tengboche, Namche Bazar, Pangboche and Khumjung, Tengboche monks will perform Chhyam, traditional Nepali mask dancing, wearing colourful costumes and wielding swords, while young monks will play horns. Traditionally, this is to ward off evil spirits from the village. In the evening, the head monk will burn effigies during ‘Logpar’, an exorcism ritual. All throughout, the hosting families are in charge of providing the food and drink, and also perform traditional Nepali and Sherpa dances after dinner.
As the celebrations come to a close, the head monk, called a ‘Rinpoche’, provides blessings to the town or village residents and then families for the next year’s Dumji are chosen. As the day ends and night sets in, the festival will close with lively dancing and singing at the monastery compound.
Few clicks from the Dumji event 2023 Namche Bazaar .