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The deity worship tradition of the Limbu Tribes

Sandhya Subba

1. Heem Sammang (Ghar ko Pooja)

This worship is performed at every Limbu household to offer devotional homage and prayer to Yuma Mang and other deities coming from outside the home. This worship is performed to deities for bestowing us peaceful life, good health and fulfilling all our wishes. To protect humans from bad omens, keep our home safe, positive and prosperous and wellbeing to them. This pooja is done in the evening hours with closed door or in secrecy. No one is allowed after the commencement of the ritual until the finishing of the rituals. Family members or others has to be present before the pooja begins because they cannot enter in the middle. It’s a one-day ritual and performed once in a year, any month or day except the month of July-August (sawan/ saun).

There are two types of Heem-Sammang:

1. He:wa- Performed with Sacrifice with chickens and eggs.

2. He:wa Menneh:ba- performed with fruits.

Heem-Sammang is performed by Phedangma and Samba. It cannot be performed by Yebas.

2. Sappok Chomen (garba pooja)

This is a rite of womb worship for the protection of a child in the mother’s womb It is a rite of propitiating gods, for the good health of the mother and baby in the womb as well as successful delivery of the baby. It is usually held within nine months of pregnancy and if it is not done due to unavoidable reasons during that period, it can be observed even after birth, but it must not be missed. Limbus believes that the divinity Labhakcha Pakchana, Nambhakcha Pakchana (Apchara Pakchanama) makes the pregnant women unable to give birth and causes illness and birth defects to the baby in the womb. It also causes pains in the stomach, headache, dizziness and other health problems. So, the propitiation of Labhakcha Pakchana Nambhakcha Pakchana (a divinity of the crossroads/crosspaths) is almost necessary. Similarly, one of the most important rites is the invocation of Wagongma who lives or plays in water and protects the womb. Wagongma worship is sometimes a synonymous of Sappok Chomen. It is conducted by Phedangmas. The ritual of Sappok Chomen takes three days to complete. The rituals of two days are conducted outside the home and the rest of the rituals of one day inside the home. Lots of chickens, ducks, eggs, pigs, fishes, pigeons, etc., are kept ready for sacrifices to different divinities. one of the most important parts of Sappok Chomen rite is the worship ceremony of the supreme goddess Yuma.

3. Akwanama (Mool Khamba/main pillar pooja)

Akwanama is one of the most important rituals performed to the divinity of the house, living in the main pillar (Hang Sitlang). She protects the house and family members of the house from insects, wild animals, thunderbolt and landslides. This worship is performed before starting the construction of the house and after the completion of it. It is normally done during house-warming function. After that, it has to be followed once in a year or once in a three years gap. This worship is performed to offer prayer dedicated to deity Lok Fagen Singheem Mang one who resides on the main pillar of every Limbu household. This worship is done to protect the house from thunder-lightening, storm, Yongsong Thukwa (landslides), k:jong:gen surit (wind), Wa:phelling (flood), aa:bu sikme (fire) etc. It is performed during the evening hours by Yeba and Samba.

4. Mangena (Seer Uthawney)

This worship is performed for good health, happy and glorious life. It is an act of worship to raise one’s head, a ritual ceremony for a person feeling dejected and suffering in hardship in order to rejuvinate him/her spirit. It is done to protect oneself from accident, disputes, enemies, fight, war and jealousy to achieve success in desired field. It is performed by Yeba, samba and Phedangma. It can be performed any time when felt needful during the evening hours. This is a worship which can be done by all individuals or members of a family. Today, a rooster is sacrificed for women (daughter) and a hen for man (son).

5. Nahangma

It is a rite of restoring martial quality of the head of the house and thus bringing good health and harvest to his family. This is a ritual of alround welfare of the head of the family. It is often conducted to recuperate from deteriorating health and depression and overcome difficult situation. It has many practical values. Unlike Mangena, it is conducted only to the head of the house. If a son is separated from his father’s house with his due share of his ancestral property, he becomes the head of the house and can conduct the Nahangma rite. If father is not in the family than Mother can perform it; if mother and father both are not alive in the family then it can be performed by the eldest son or eldest daughter in the family. This worship is also performed by Phedangma, Samba and Yeba for themselves. Nahangma is conducted usually in every three years. It can be conducted every year also if someone can afford it. It is performed at the evening hours inside the house.

6. Chasok-Thisok

This worship is performed to offer newly harvested crops and crop products and fruits to Yuma Mang. They also offer “thi” (fermented beer) from the cooked millet grains. With the offering of newly harvested crops and crop-products to the Goddess; then only they can take these crops and crop-products themselves. This worship takes place in every Limbu household once in a year. It can be performed by all Peli Fangsam/ Shamans during the evening hours.

7. Ingmang or Yumang (Sansari pooja)

The term ‘Ing-mang’ was derived from original Limbu termonilogy, however, the term has been gradually distorted and of late being used as ‘Yumang’. The term ‘Ingmang’ or ‘Yumang’ connotes to invoke the ‘Natural divinities’ or earth-bound energies to call upon of the locality for welfare and prosperity of the individual members of the village. This worship also signifies the worship of mother earth. The inhabitants of the whole village gather at a hill top common place thereby collecting the share contribution i.e., cash and kind as a token of gift called ‘Hukwa’ from individual household family. This invoking is done before getting involved in farming activities. This worship is usually performed during the month of March-April ‘Charengnam Therang-nam’ season. The mythological reason behind this worshiping is praying for timely rain fall, balanced weather, bumper harvest, avoiding and dreadful epidemic, unwanted and untoward incidents, other natural calamities like landslide, floods, hail-storm and for prosperity of each member of every household of the particular village. Besides food-grains, fermented millet and other several items such as chicken, goat, pigeon, pig, duck, fishes, buffalo etc. were sacrificed and offered to the divinities. Every household of the village must share in the offering. Feasting with the sacrificial meat and locally fermented millet beer is common on this occasion.

8. Tongsing

It is an act of cooperation, coming together, coming in agreement or conciliation, becoming correct or fitting. It is a ritual of winning cooperation of ancestors and divinities through invocation, incantation, dramatic performances and using symbolic paraphernalia. This rite is to please the supernatural forces and thus to avoid befalling distresses and misfortunes. It is a ceremony of invoking various divinities or functional deities to bestow good harvest, better opportunities and prosperity and to ward off illnesses, difficulties and natural calamities. Various myths, legends, narratives and oracles are believed to be linked with this which guide the social, ethical and religious concepts and shape the attitude and behavior of Limbus. It is said that it should be conducted every year, if possible, if not at least once in three years. There are two kinds of Tongsing: 1) Hing-Tongsing: It is performed for the living beings for their good health, protection from evil and long life. 2) See-Tongsing: It is performed for death people. Tongsing is performed especially by Sambas during the evening hours. Ya-Yebas can perform it only at the unavailability of Sambas.

9. Tingding Nahen (Akhi Dei/ jealousy)

This worship is performed to protect us from evil eyes, jealousy, envy, and negativity. This worship protects the family from bad forces and any kind of bad impact. It brings positive energies and good luck around us. Normally it is performed when someone’s work is procrastinated due to unfortunate events and evilness. This ritual has to be performed in the west direction towards the direction where sun sets. One egg and chicken are required to perform this ritual. It is a one-day ritual performed by the Yeba. It is performed either day or evening time as per the time availability of the Yeba.

10. Sakmura (Gali-Sarap Pooja)

This worship is performed by the Limbus to get rid of curses, jinx, malediction and evil eye that inflicts harm, evilness and injuries. This worship cast away all evil curses passed on by the ancestors. Normally curses could affect in landed property, border disputes, and fights. When somebody is hurt, angry or annoyed, curses flow naturally. Hence, to get rid of those evil curses Sakmura- Khoma is performed. This ritual is performed in river shores. It can be performed for maximum one to three days depending on the choice and desire of the people who are doing it. The worship requires chickens, goats, eggs, pigs etc., for the sacrifice. This pooja is performed by individual household or relatives belonging to same subtitle (Thar). It can also be performed by a group of villagers combinedly. It is performed once in a year or once in a three years gap. Normally this pooja takes place during the day hours by the Yebas.


1. Subba, J.R. (2012). Yumaism, the Limboo Way of Life.

2. Karna Hang Tamling, M.A. Limbu Language, Sikkim University, Gangtok.

3. Subba, Dr. Chaitanya. The Culture and Religions of Limboo. 4. Buddhi Das Pandhak, M.A. Limbu Language, Sikkim University, Gangtok

(The author is a resident of Singzango, Gangtok, Sikkim)