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HomeArt & CultureThe Story of Majipa Lakhey Dance: Where Myth Meets Movement

The Story of Majipa Lakhey Dance: Where Myth Meets Movement

Majipa Lakhey performing at Indrajatra in Kathmandu.

Lakhey Dance is one of the most popular dances of the Nepali community.Lakhey is considered as a mythological demon who kept his territory by chasing away other devils. The mythology states that Lakhey punishes anyone who enters his territory without permission.

During festivals, people who wear  Lakhe masks and attire dance in the streets and city squares. Yak tails are used for the hair in this papier-mâché mask. Vibrating music and wild movements define the Lakhe dance.For the performance of this masked dance on that very day, the participants practice a lot.

The most well-known Lakhe is Majipa Lakhey from Kathmandu, who makes an appearance at the September Indra Jatra festival. He is considered as a god. Along with his musical band doing dance routines, he travels the city accepting food and ceremonial items from locals.

Surrounded by glowing oil lamps, the Lakhe mask is honored and provided a variety of food offerings in the belief that maintaining Lakhe’s happiness will grant blessings and protect the locals from the spread of infectious diseases.

In order to wear Lakhe masks and costumes, Majipa Lakhe performers must pay their respects to the dance goddess throughout their journeys. They carefully organize and set up an eight-day performance program. For a single day performance, three to four performers switch.

Majipa Lakhe goes to a location called Rengal at Lagan to offer prayers and get a blessing for a successful day before heading out to perform in public. Lakhe was previously taken care of by the Jyapu, a Newar farming clan. Over time, Jyapu found it difficult to continue this tradition and passed it on to the Ranjitkars, another Newar clan. Even now, Lakhe goes to the Jyapu residence to light the oil flame, and drink water before the parade starts.

When Lakhe is prepared to perform, a guardian helps him leave his house named as Lakhe Nuni. Lakhe offers prayers for the first time in Kebuche, the home of the Rajbhandari clan of Newar, who offered gifts to Lakhe. Lakhe comes with musical instruments, including a bag, an oil flame known as a chilaag, Jhyali (cymbals), Jhyalincha, and a drum called Bhushyaha.

The Lakhe makes performance stops at major junctions and market squares. The Lakhe gets angry and chases after the young kid, Jhyalincha, during the dance. Every time, Jhyalincha manages to slip away into the crowd.

 Lakhey dance is performed during Indra Jatra festival falling in the month of September every year. On the day of Indra Jatra, this masked dance is used to collect charity.

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