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Festivals/Events

 

Tshechu

Tshechu is a religious festival in honour of Guru Padsambhava - 'one who was born from lotus flower'. This Indian saint contributed enormously to the diffusion of Tantric Buddhism in the Himalayan regions of Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan etc. around 800 A.D. He is the founder of the Nyingmapa, the 'old school' of Lamaism which still has numerous followers. This festival is performed in the courtyards of the Dzongs or Lhakhangs (monasteries). All dances in the programme have religious significance. In between the religious dances, folk dances maybe are performed, depending on each region. Each day festivities begin at eight in the morning and continue till late afternoon, with lunch break in between. The order of the dances could differ from region to region. The Bhutanese dressed in their finest, come from all over for the festivities. It is believed that one who witnesses the tshechu is profusely blessed.

 

Dromche (Punakha)

Dromche (festival) generally include dances and this festival is dedicated to Yeshe Gompo (Mahakala) or Palden Lhamo, the two main protective deities of Drukpas (Drukpas = means people of Druk land or Bhutanese). Punakha Dromche takes place in the first month of the lunar year and ends with 'Serda', a magnificent procession which re-enacts an episode of the war against the Tibetan in the 17th century.

 

Jambay Lhakhang Drup (Bumthang)

The festival is held for dual reasons; to commemorate an establishment of Jambay Lhakhang (temple) in 7 th century and to honor Guru Rimpoche, a saint who introduced Tantric form of Buddhism in Bhutan. A variety of traditional and mask dances are performed and each dance bear significant meaning/importance.

This festival is one of the most important in Bhutan and its high light is the 'Mewang" - the fire ceremony and the " Tercham" - a religious dance. A fire dance is held in the evening to bless infertile women so that they may bear children.

 

Tamshingphala Choepa (Bumthang)

The festival is celebrated for three days, on the open grounds in front of the Tamshing lhakang. This festival is celebrated in honour of the “Terton” (treasure discoverer) Pema Lingpa of the 15th century. The religious dances are generally the same, but performed in a slightly different manner, as of the Nyingmapa sect of Mahayana Buddhism.

 

 

Paro Festival

There is a sequence of dances at Paro Tshechu. Most dances are the same at others Tshechus, but the sequence varies. On day one is Shinje Yab Yum, dance of the lord of death and his consort. The costume is of buffalo mask and long brocade dress. The day two begins with "chipdrel" traditional reception. The Astara (clown) welcomes the audience with the marchang ceremony. The the mask dances begin

 

Thimpu Festival

Thimpu festival is the festival of dances. Some of these dances are shacham or the dance of the four stag, pelage gingsum or the dance of the three kinds of ging, pacham or the dance of the heroes, shawo shachi or dance of the stags and the hounds, dranyeo cham or dance with guitar, shana or black dance, shaa nga cham or dance of the 21 black hats with drum and, pholeg moleg or dance of the noblemen and the ladies.