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Getting Festive

 

Festivals in the Land of the Thunder Dragon are rich and happy expression of it’s ancient Buddhist culture. These festivals are held in all districts in honor of Guru Rinpoche, the saint who introduced Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century. Tsechus are held on auspicious days and months in the Bhutanese calendar, and last up to four days in which a series of highly stylized masked dance rituals are performed.

 

Festivals are also a big family and social occasion. People dress up in their finest clothes and most resplendent jewelry of coral and turquoise. They pack picnic lunches in their traditional bamboo baskets and stay all day at the festival which are usually held in the dzongs (fortresses) or at monasteries.

 

People’s deep faith and devotion makes these festivals a special occasion. At the same time it is also an opportunity to join hundreds, and even thousands, of Bhutanese in taking part in an important religious and social occasion that often exudes a carnival atmosphere.

 

The Paro Tsechu is a popular tsechu in Paro district held usually in Spring.

 

One of the largest festivals is the Thimphu Tsechu in the capital where thousands of people turn up for the four days of dances and prayer. But for visitors who prefer a more intimate experience, there are many tsechus in the smaller districts which are less crowded and where the local atmosphere is more relaxed and enjoyable. Small village festivals are the best way to get acquainted with the spirit of Bhutan.