A trip to any country is incomplete without witnessing the local culture and festival, and Bhutan is no different. Bhutan is overwhelming with their festivals and no matter which part of the year you visit the country; it will still be festival time, for Bhutan hosts a festival every month.
History of Festivals in Bhutan
In Bhutan, festivals are called Tshechu – A mask dance festival. Tshechu is celebrated in honour of the birthday of Guru Rinpoche who introduced Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century. While the exact month varies from place to place, a Tshechu (meaning 10th Day), is always celebrated on the tenth day of a month in the lunar calendar.
Tshechu is an annual religious festival celebrated in each district, temples, dzongs and monasteries of Bhutan. They are high-spirited festivals. It’s believed that everyone must attend a Tshechu at least once in their lifetime. Witnessing these festivities is considered a blessing by the Bhutanese and essential in order to gain spiritual enlightenment. The major festivals are the Thimphu Tshechu, Paro Tshechu, Jambay Lhakhang Drup, Punakha Drubchen and the Haa Summer Festival.
What happens at the festivals?
Hordes of people, both locals and tourists flock the festivities. It is a confluence of everything colourful and dance performances. The key attraction is the colourful mask dance, where people join the monks to dance their hearts out.
Weeks prior to the festival local Monks start their preparation through meditation and prayer. During the four-day festivities, these Monks perform highly stylized and sophisticated dances wearing colourful masks and each dance performance is a form of story-telling. For instance, the Monks at the Thimphu Tshechu perform stories from the life and times of Guru Rinpoche (Guru Padmasambhava). They are also significant since the Bhutanese pass their rich cultural heritage, mythology and spiritual belief systems from one generation to the next during this time.
In addition to the above people also share meals comprising red rice, spicy pork, and Ema while washing it all down with the traditionally brewed rice wine, Ara.
Bhutan is one with nature and a perfect amalgamation of beauty and culture that will leave you spell-bound while giving you the best of both worlds.
If Bhutan has been on your mind, then contact us today for a tailor-made travel plan, we assure you a Bhutanese experience like no other.