Festivals In Bhutan-By Renok Adventures
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TSHECHU‐

The meaning of Tshechu means ‘the tenth day’ is held every year in temples, monasteries and dzongs around the country. It is held on the tenth of the month of the lunar calendar corresponding to Guru Rimpoche’s birthday. The dates vary from temple to temple and place to place. These are grand events where communities come together and socialize, receive blessings and there are religious mask dances. This festival is like bathing in the Ganges in India ‐ it is said that one must visit this festival once to receive blessings and wash away one’s sins. Every dance performed in this festival has a meaning or story to it, and some are based on events dating back to the 8th century ,depicting the life during the time of Guru Padmasambhava. Two of the most popular Tshechus in Bhutan are the Paro and Thimphu Tshechus, and many tourists visit these festivals for their colorful and traditional display of culture.

THE BLACK NECKED CRANE FESTIVAL‐

The black necked crane is an inseparable part of people's lives in Bhutan during the winter, when over 300 cranes migrate to Phobjikha and spend their winter months in this valley. This valley is a significant wintering ground for the cranes and has been protected since time immemorial, due to the people’s respect for all living beings. The festival is organized to generate awareness and understanding of the importance of the cranes and is celebrated through folk songs, mask dances, crane dances and environmental‐themed dramas. It takes place in the courtyard of Gangtey Gonpa, in Phobjikha valley.

JOMOLHARI MOUNTAIN FESTIVAL‐

This is a two‐day event celebrated at the base of Mt. Jomolhari. It celebrates the culture of people living in harmony with nature around them, with emphasis on the snow leopard. This area is well known as a snow leopard habitat. The festival aims at spreading awareness about the importance of conservation of this endangered cat and is celebrated through snow leopard themed folk songs and dances performed by the local people, shot put, horse and yak riding, handicraft, food and hikes.

NOMAD FESTIVAL‐

The herders of the northeastern and northwestern frontiers of the Himalayas come together to celebrate their culture and tradition. One can dine on traditional recipes, dress like a Bhutanese highlander, try yak riding and witness the grand pageantry of the Chipdrel, which is a procession usually reserved for royalty. The Nomad festival is held in Bumthang Dzongkhag in central Bhutan.

PARO TSHECHU‐

This festival is held every spring in Paro Dzongkhag. Thongdrols are especially impressive examples of Buddhist art which are displayed during the festival, early morning on the last day of the celebration. They are considered so sacred that even seeing them is said to cleanse one of sin.

THIMPHU TSHECHU‐

This is one of the largest festivals in the country, held in Thimphu for 3 days, starting from the 10th of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. Thousands of people travel from neighboring districts to witness this festival. The festivities are lively and colorful with dances and performances, and the farmers consider it a break from farm life and a time to enjoy, receive blessings and pray for happiness.

PUNAKHA TSHECHU-

Punakha Tshechu was popularized by the 70th Je Khenpo Trulku Jigme Choedra and the then Home Minister His Excellency Lyonpo Jigme Yoedzer Thinley in 2005 is another festival which is celebrated in punakha. In response to the recourses made by Punakha District Administration and civic people the Tshechu was introduced to anchor a Tshechu in order to better conserve Buddhist cultures and keep alive the noble deeds of Zhabdrung Rimpoche.

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