April 14, 2017
Mani Rimdu is a festival of religious significance in Sherpa communities. It is celebrated at the Thame monastery in May and at Tengboche, Chiwong and Thakshindu monasteries in November each year. Mani Rimdu is a prayer ceremony in which the monks put on masks representing divine personages and perform ritual dances. These prayer and mask dances are meant for the well-being of the living creatures and the world peace. The head lama and the monks read religious scriptures for about 10-15 days.
The religious festivities involve ceremonies and meditation (Drupchen). The meaning attributed to "Mani Rimdu" is that ‘Mani’ means “part of the chant of Chenrezig” and ‘Rilbu’ or ‘Rimdu’ means small red pills that are blessed during the festival. The red pills are blessed repeatedly and then distributed to all those who attend.
On the first day, the head lama gives blessings and holy offerings to the people called Wong. It comprises of holy water, Sungdi (a holy thread) and various other elements which are distributed to the people for their good luck, long-life and prosperity. The mask dance - Chhyam begins on the second day. A group of monks chant prayers playing various instruments while other monks perform dance on the occasion.
There are different types of dances which have their own religious significance. In the first dance, several monks wearing silk robe and black hats perform the offering to the god for protection from illness, accidents and evil spirit. When the religious celebration is over, people attending the ceremony go for an evening funfair. They perform Shebru/Syapru (Sherpa Dance) almost for whole night.
Content provided by Sonam Jangbu Sherpa