Namsoong, an indigenous festival of Lepchas, is celebrated all over Sikkim, Darjeeling District, Ilam of Nepal, and some parts of Bhutan, as a mark of welcoming the New Year. It begins from the first day of the first month of the year and goes on for seven days. Traditionally, a couple of minutes before the beginning of new year, Bongthing, a Lepcha priest and Mun perform rituals by offering 'Chi Fut' (alcoholic beverages), and at midnight the effigy of the demon king Laso Mung Punu is burnt. This process of celebration is called Laso Muntgyut Maarlavo Tyangong Sonap in Lepcha.

During the Namsoong period, early in the morning, the Lepchas burn incense, with butter and the seeds of a special tree. The children shout loudly 'Song solo', 'Achulay' and the head of the family offers alcoholic beverages to the creator and other guardian deities. Usually the children go to every house playing 'Laso Lem' which normally ends on the seventh day of the Namsoong.

Updated on 7th June, 2005


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