Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condoled the passing away of Folk musician and Padma Shri awardee Sonam Tshering Lepcha who passed away at Kalimpong recently due to old age ailments.
About Lepcha tribe
- The Lepcha are also called the Rongkup meaning the children of God and the Rong.
- Lepchas are among the indigenous peoples of Sikkim and number between 30,000 and 50,000.
- Many Lepcha are also found in western and southwestern Bhutan, Tibet, Darjeeling, the Mechi Zone of eastern Nepal, and in the hills of West Bengal.
- The Lepcha have their own language, also called Lepcha. It belongs to the Bodish–Himalayish group of Tibeto-Burman languages. The Lepcha write their language in their own script, called Róng or Lepcha script, which is derived from the Tibetan script.
- Religion – Most Lepchas are Buddhist, a religion brought by the Bhutias from the north, although a large number of Lepchas have today adopted Christianity. According to the Nepal Census of 2001, out of the 3,660 Lepcha in Nepal, 88.80% were Buddhists and 7.62% were Hindus. Many Lepchas in the Hills of Sikkim, Darjeeling and Kalimpong are Christians.
- Clothing – The traditional clothing for Lepcha women is the ankle-length dumbun, also called dumdyám or gādā (“female dress”). It is one large piece of smooth cotton or silk, usually of a solid colour. The traditional Lepcha clothing for men is the dumprá (“male dress”). It is a multicoloured, hand-woven cloth pinned at one shoulder and held in place by a waistband, usually worn over a white shirt and trousers.
- Occupation – The Lepchas are mostly agriculturists. They grow oranges, rice, cardamoms, and other foods.
- Art and Craft – The Lepchas are known for their unique weaving and basketry skills. They also have a rich tradition of dances, songs, and folktales. One popular instrument used by the Lepchas is a four-string lute that is played with a bow.
- Marriage – The Lepchas are largely an endogamous community. They trace their descent patrillineally. The marriage is negotiated between the families of the bride and the groom.