Sikkim Almanac: A Monarchical Souvenir to the State of Sikkim

Sikkim Almanac
Every Sikkimese has seen Sikkim Almanac hanging on the walls of every Official building or in every house to get an idea about the official government sanctioned holidays for a particular year. But, we have never paid any attention to understand its link with the past of Sikkim. The Sikkim Almanac nowadays is merely serving as an everyday planner of the Sikkimese people. But, distant from being the official holiday marker the Sikkim Almanac has its profound bond with the history of the erstwhile Himalayan Kingdom of Sikkim.
The Royal Government of Sikkim began to issue its Almanac, which lists the official government sanctioned holidays for each year, in the mid 50’s of the last century. The noble task was undertaken during the glorious reign of Maharaja Sir Tashi Namgyal. The sole purpose of issuing such Government Calendar was to inform the subjects of the Maharaja about the Government sanctioned holidays in the kingdom of Sikkim, so that they could avoid themselves from reaching the Capital during holidays for their Official works. The Government sanctioned holidays in the calendar were highlighted with red colour which was easier for every individual to get an idea of the existing holiday in a particular month. The very same layout of Almanac is still prevalent in the Sikkim Almanac issued by the Government of Sikkim.
The Sikkim Almanac has some distinctive features as well. In conjunction with the dates of Gregorian calendar in English are the dates of Tibetan Lunar Calendar in Tibetan scripts. Presently, the heading carries emblem of Sikkim Government but, during independent Sikkim it used to have a portrait of the reigning king of the Kingdom. The fifties (1950’s) version of the Sikkim Almanac carried pictures of Maharaja Sir Tashi Namgyal in full Royal ceremonial dress, while the pictures of Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal were more casuals. The placing of the King’s pictures on Sikkim Almanac was stopped after Sikkim’s integration with the Indian Union. Apart from English and Tibetan languages the title of the Almanac is also written in other Sikkimese languages like Lepcha, Nepali and Limbu which is in vogue since its first issue.
Either side of the Almanac is bordered by the Eight Lucky Signs known as Tashi Tagey (Tak Gye) in Tibetan. These auspicious signs are symbolic with the life and teachings of the enlightened Tathagatha. After Sikkim’s integration with India, the Sikkim Almanac is printed and distributed by Home Department, Government of Sikkim every year.