Sakhiya dance is one of the popular traditional dances of the indigenous Tharu community of mid and far western Nepal practiced in Dang, Banke, Bardia, Kailali, and Kanchanpur districts. The national festival of Dasain for Hindu coincides with the Sakhiya dance festival in this Tharu dominated region.
In other words, as Dashain is celebrated by all Nepalese, Tharus engage in performing their ‘Sakhiya dance’ in their respective topographical belts. Tharus are rich in cultures and traditions in Nepal.
They usually start to perform their traditional dances such as Sakhiya soon after the end of the monsoon season. Sakhiya dance has its affinity with legendary tales of Hindu God Lord Krishna.
The song of the dance is generally related to farming and practical life and way of seeking freedom from the hectic and mundane human life. The dance has become a part and parcel of Tharus community, social, cultural and religious identity which is on the verge of extinction.
Traditionally five males and twenty-five female dancers are needed to perform the Sakhiya dance. During the dance, males wear vests and dhotis and play Mandal while the female dancers adorned in white skirts, red blouses and red scarfs on their heads dance to the rhythmic tune of the drum.
The pretty young girls are the main center of attractions in this dance as they are instrumental in performing the main dance of Sakhiya. They dance with charming grace and gait which seems to be incredible for any other new performer.
Sakhiya dance usually begins around one month before the national festival Dashain begins and ends soon after the end of the Dashain festival. But in the modern time, the Sakhiya dance is initiated only a few days ahead of Dashain festival. The duration of this traditional dance has been shortened because of the decreasing trend of the young generation’s interest in the promotion and preservation of traditional dances in the Tharu community.
However, due to the initiatives taken by elderly Tharu social leaders such as Badhghar, the traditional Sakhiya dance continues to touch the hearts of people is likely to be promoted and preserved for several decades from now.
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