Communities of people in Yuksom

The Bhutia, Lepchas, Nepalese forms the major communities of people in Yuksom. The Sherpas is also one of the common communities besides these three.

The Bhutias: Spelt and pronounced as Bhotia, is a name derived from their original habitat “Bhot.” They are non-vegetarians but prefer beef and pork over mutton. Their staple diet is rice (tho) with meat (shy). They consume seasonal fruits and vegetables. The Bhutias mostly prefer living in the hilly terrain, of high altitude and cold climate where there is high rainfall with medium snowfall and high humidity with dense forests. Their identifying mark is the kho, a long sleeved coat with a belt or Kera locally called the Bokhu and worn by the males. Women wear the sleeveless Kho with Honju, a blouse with long sleeves.

The Lepchas: These are mongoloid people living in the Himalayas on the southern and eastern slopes of Mount Kanchenjunga. According to a certain theory, the Lepchas have migrated from the various parts of Tibet and Mongolia. They call themselves “mutunci rongkup rumkup” meaning “children of the Rong and of God” or “rongkup” “children of the Rong” They are mostly non-vegetarians. Their favourite dish is beef followed by pork and mutton. Their staple diet consists of maize, wheat, rice, millet and buckwheat. Their favourite dishes also include root and tuber crops, fern shoots, bamboo shoots, several types of fungi and different types of wild plants. Some of the other favourite fermented foods also include Gnuchi, Shakampo, Kargyong, and Kheuri; alcoholic beverages like Chee (fermented liquor), Bhatinjaar and Arak(distilled alcohol). These alcoholic beverages keep them warm and provide them energy to maintain social relation and cultural heritage. They perform various religious ceremonies to ward off evil spirits.

The Sherpas: They are of Tibetan origin. Their name means “Eastern People” in Tibetan language. Their staple diet is made of potato, rice and buckwheat. Some of their dishes are boiled potato (Khaponi sawo), roasted barley flour (tsampa), potato bread (riki-kur), boiled flour or local pudding (syan or gonde), mashed potato mixed with wheat flour (rildok), wheat and bread dish (pakril). While they take plenty of fruits and vegetables in their diet, they also consume beef and mutton. Their economic activity primarily consists of terrace cultivation. They are also specialized in production of vegetables like cabbage, peas, radish, etc. Some of their subsidiary income sources are livestock rearing, labour, service or as a guide on mountain expeditions.

The Nepalese: This community includes Brahmins, Chhetris, Newars, Kamis and Damais who are Aryans in origin and the Rais, Limbus, Gurungs, Magars, and even Sherpas.