Limbu groups of people basically belong to the eastern parts, along the rocky zones of Nepal between Arun and Mechi River. Apart from this, they are also spread within southern Tibet, Burma, Bhutan and certain Indian territories like Darjeeling, Sikkim, Assam, Nagaland, and Burma. They are also considered under Kirati community. Limbus count about more than seventy hundred thousand in Nepal, mostly in the regions of Jhapa, Panchthar, Ilam, Kathmandu, Lalitpur Districts. Limbu people have their own flag. However, the usage of it was concluded during eighteenth century.
Religion and Spirituality
Limbu are basically divided in to a couple of gotras as Lhasa and Yunnan. Limbu (along with Newar and Lepcha), under the Sino-Tibetan category is having its own script. They believe a female is the inheritance of her mother’s god. Upon marriage, the same woman brings the god that is considered the domestic god. They conceal the dead bodies and follow a couple to three days rituals.
Limbu religion is a nice blend of Tibetan Buddhism and Hinduism. They obey the deity Yuma the most, considering the mother of all Yuma. Though traditionally, Limbu people bury the death, but these days the burning system is getting popular. However, Limbu exterior to Nepal consider themselves different due to their following of Yumwada, which is a religious scripture passed from generation to generation by the spiritual leaders.
In each special occasion, like marriages, funeral ceremony, celebrations, etc. are practiced through the use of alcohol. Their traditional beer called thee, which is drunk through the coffer called Tongba is quite popular. During some special dance parties for the guests to the village, the young girls and boys from the community are given a chance to know each other through dance and drinks. During special occasions like Mangsewa, Limbus wears the traditional attire of Mekhil and Taga. They prefer to be wearing dresses of white color considering it as a symbol of tranquility.
Dhaka, a classic fabric of the Limbus represents their unique sense of art and fashion. Limbu people learn the art of its making. Men use it in hats and ladies in most of their dresses.
They are traditionally good in silk farming. Apart from this, they predominantly cultivate rice and maize as well. They trade the extraneous crops for food those can be harvested in a particular region. A good number of Limbu people are involved in Indian and British Gurkha regiments.
Marriages, Sports and Dance
Limbu marriage system is primarily inter-communal. They allow the younger brother to marry widow of his brother upon mutual understanding. However, before marriage, the ceremony of asking the hand of the woman is hugely observed through which a woman can ask any precious thing to judge the financial condition of the counterpart. A few days later the man’s family move to that of the woman with nice food items. Anyway, the marriage takes place in the groom’s house.
Among famous Limbu dances, Yalakma and Dhan Naach are quite famous. In Yalakma, men and women dance in a circle. Dhan Naach is a traditional dance. However, the most difficult dance is the Kelangma dance that involves baffling dance steps. These dances are performed during the special social occasions. They are quite expert in sports like archery, horse riding and free style wrestling.