Festivals | The Noble Traveller

Festivals

Tshechu is a religious festival meaning “tenth day” held annually in various temples, monasteries and dzongs throughout the country.

The Tshechu is a religious event celebrated on tenth day of a month of the lunar calendar corresponding to the birthday of Guru Rimpoche (Guru Padmasambhava). However the exact month of the Tshechu varies from place to place and temple to temple.

Tshechus are grand events where entire communities come together to witness religious mask dances, receive blessings and socialize. . In addition to the mask dances tshechus also include  colorful Bhutanese dances and other forms of entertainment.

It is believed that everyone must attend a Tshechu and witness the mask dances at least once to in order to receive blessings and wash away their sins. Every mask dance performed during a Tshechu has a special meaning or a story behind it and many are based on stories and incidents from as long ago as the 8th century, during the life of Guru Padmasambhava. In monasteries the mask dances are performed by monks and in remote villages they are performed jointly by monks and village men.

Two of the most popular Tshechus in the country are the Paro and Thimphu Tshechus in terms of participation and audience. Besides the locals many tourists from across the world are attracted to these unique, colorful and exciting displays of traditional culture.

 

POPULAR FESTIVALS

Paro Tshechu:

The Paro Tshechu is held every spring and is one of the most colorful and significant events in Paro Dzongkhag (district).

The Tsehchu is considered a major attraction and people travel from neighboring districts to participate in the festivity. Early in the morning on the last day of the celebration the monks display a gigantic thangkha (embroidered painting) , the Guru Throngdel, inside the dzong. Thongdrols are especially impressive examples of Buddhist art and never fail to amaze viewers. They are considered so sacred that simply seeing a Thongdrol is said to cleanse the viewer of sin.

Thimphu Tshechu:

One of the biggest festivals in the country is the Thimphu Tshechu. This festival is held in the capital city for three days beginning on 10th day of the 8th month of lunar calendar. This Tshechu is witnessed by thousands of people many of which travel from neighboring Dzongkhags (districts) to attend the festivities. The actual Tshechu is preceded by days and nights of prayer and rituals to invoke the gods.

When it was initiated by the 4th Desi, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay in 1867 the Tshechu consisted of only a few dances being performed strictly by monks. These were the Zhana chham and the Zhana Nga chham (Dances of the 21 Black Hats), Durdag (Dance of the Lords of the Cremation Ground), and the Tungam chham (Dance of the Terrifying Deities).

The Thimphu Tshechu underwent a change in the 1950s, when the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, introduced numerous Boed chhams (mask dances performed by lay monks). These additions added colour and variation to the festival without compromising its spiritual significance. Mask dances like the Guru Tshengye (Eight Manifestations of Guru), Shaw Shachi (Dance of the Stags) are enjoyed because they are similar to stage-theater.

Jambay Lhakhang Festival:

Jambay lhakhang is located in Bumthang and is situated on the way to the Kurjie Lhakhang. It’s a ten minutes drive to the temple from the Chamkhar town.

Jambay Lhakhang is one of the oldest temples in the kingdom. It was founded by, Songtsen Gampo, a Tibetan King in the 7th century AD. The king was destined to build 108 temples known as Thadhul- Yangdhul (temples on and across the border) in a day to subdue the demoness that was residing in the Himalayas. The temple is one of the two of the 108 built in Bhutan. A second is located in Paro, the Kichu lhakhang also built on the same day.

Black-Nacked Crane Festival:

The Annual Black-necked Crane festival is celebrated in the courtyard of Gangtey Gonpa, in Phobjikha valley. The festival is an occasion for the locals to rejoice and celebrate the arrival of this endangered and majestic bird which becomes an inseparable part their daily lives during the winter months.

The annual black-necked crane festival is organized to generate awareness and understanding on the importance of conserving the endangered Black‐necked cranes; to strengthen the linkages between conservation, economic welfare and sustainable livelihoods of the community; provide an avenue for the local community to renew their commitment to conservation of the black-necked cranes, and to showcase their cultural heritage and skills.

Chorten Kora Festival

The Chorten Kora Festival is set in Trashiyangtse, the easternmost district of Bhutan. To arrive in Trashiyangtse you must drive for two hours from Trashigang following the banks of Dangmechu and Kholungchu rivers.

Dakpa Kora is held on the 15th day of the 3rd month corresponding to 28th February and Drukpa Kora (circumbulation by the Bhutanese) is held on the 30th day corresponding to 15th March every year (Check with your tour operator to confirm these dates).

The Chorten (Stupa) was built by Lama Ngawang Loday in 1740on the site where a demon was subdued. The chorten was dedicated to the memory of his late uncle, Jungshu Pesan. It is believed to be a replica of the Boudhnath stupa in Nepal and was consecrated by the 13th chief Abbot of Bhutan Je Sherub Wangchuk. Today, it is considered one of the most important historical Buddhist structures.

FESTIVAL DATE 2019
Name Start Date End Date
Punakha Drubchen Feb 12, 2019 Feb 14, 2019
Punakha Tshechu Feb 15, 2019 Feb 17, 2019
Tharpaling Thongdrol Feb 19, 2019
Gasa Tshechu Mar 14, 2019 Mar 16, 2019
Zhemgang Tshechu Mar 14, 2019 Mar 17, 2019
Gomphukora Mar 14, 2019 Mar 16, 2019
Talo Tshechu Mar 14, 2019 Mar 16, 2019
Paro Tshechu Mar 17, 2019 Mar 21, 2019
Chhorten Kora Mar 21, 2019 Apr 05, 2019
Domkhar Tshechu Apr 14, 2019 Apr 16, 2019
Ura Yakchoe Apr 16, 2019 Apr 20, 2019
Rhododendron Festival Apr 19, 2019 Apr 21, 2019
Nimalung Tshechu Jul 10, 2019 Jul 11, 2019
Kurjey Tshechu Jul 11, 2019
Haa Summer Festival Jul 13, 2019 Jul 14, 2019
Mushroom Festival Aug 15, 2019 Aug 16, 2019
Masutaki Mushroom Festival Aug 23, 2019 Aug 24, 2019
Tour of the Dragon (Bicycle Race) Sep 07, 2019
Thimphu Drubchen Oct 04, 2019
Wangdue Tshechu Oct 05, 2019 Oct 07, 2019
Tamshing Phala Chhoepa Oct 07, 2019 Oct 09, 2019
Thimphu Tshechu Oct 08, 2019 Oct 10, 2019
Gangtey Tshechu Oct 10, 2019 Oct 13, 2019
Thangbi Mani Oct 10, 2019 Oct 13, 2019
Jhomolhari Mountain Festival Oct 14, 2019 Oct 15, 2019
Jakar Tshechu Nov 05, 2019 Nov 09, 2019
Chhukha Tshechu Nov 06, 2019 Nov 08, 2019
Dechenphu Tshechu Dechenphu Nov 08, 2019
Pemagatshel Tshechu Nov 11, 2019 Nov 13, 2019
Black Necked Crane Festival Nov 11, 2019
Jambay Lhakhang Drup Nov 13, 2019 Nov 16, 2019
Prakhar Duchhoed Nov 14, 2019 Nov 16, 2019
Mongar Tshechu Dec 04, 2019 Dec 06, 2019
Trashigang Tshechu Dec 05, 2019 Dec 07, 2019
Jambay Lhakhang Singye Cham Dec 12, 2019
Nalakhar Tshechu Dec 12, 2019
Druk Wangyel Tshechu Dec 13, 2019

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