An Ode to the Land: Celebrating the Bhume Festival in Nepal

An Ode to the Land: Celebrating the Bhume Festival in Nepal
Credit goes to Kathmandu Post

In the rural municipalities of Rukum East, the Magar communities celebrate the Bhume festival with great fervor and joy. This unique festival, which takes place between the months of May and June, is a vibrant display of the rich cultural heritage of the Kham-speaking Magar communities. It is a time of celebration, filled with rituals, dancing, and singing, all in honor of the land.

The Bhume Festival: A Celebration of the Land

The Bhume festival is a significant event for the Magar communities, often given more importance than other major festivals like Dashain and Tihar. The festival begins after 'Baisakh Purnima' (full moon during the month of May) and continues until the first week of June. The festival is marked by the performance of the Bhume dance, a unique dance form that is an integral part of the celebrations.

The Rituals and Traditions

The Bhume festival is characterized by a series of rituals and traditions. After 'Baisakh Purnima', the communities worship the 'Siddha' deity and perform the Bhume dance, a ritual known as 'Nogowange'. Around mid-June, young individuals travel uphill to pluck flowers from the highlands, stay the night outside, and return to the villages the next day. The returnees circle the villages dancing, creating a vibrant and festive atmosphere.

On the first day of Asadh, the Bhume deity is worshipped. The communities believe that after the puja, no natural disaster will occur during the incoming rainy season. This ritual is a testament to the deep connection between the communities and the land, a relationship that is celebrated and revered during the Bhume festival.

The Bhume Dance: A Unique Dance Form

The Bhume dance, performed by men and women of all age groups, is a highlight of the festival. The dance consists of 22 moves and is performed to the rhythm of traditional instruments like the Damahah, Tyamki, Sanahi, Jhyali, and Paiijan. The dancers, dressed in traditional attire, create a captivating spectacle that is a joy to witness.

The Bhume Cultural Festival and Open Competition

This year, the Bhume rural municipality organized an open competition at Khabang Bagar, the center of the village, on June 2. The event saw local artists from the district and the neighboring district of Rolpa showcasing their original, indigenous artworks. The event was a celebration of the rich cultural heritage of the region and a testament to the vibrant arts scene in the area.