Tshechu is an annual religious Bhutanese festival on the “tenth day” of a month of the lunar Tibetan calendar held annually in various temples, monasteries and Dzongs throughout the country.
Festivals are the time where the entire communities come together in their finest colorful costumes and expensive jewelry to witness religious mask dances, receive blessings, and to socialize with delicious picnic lunches. In addition to the mask dances, Tshechus also consist of colorful Bhutanese dances and other forms of entertainment. Tshechus are usually held in the Dzong or at the monasteries and monks perform the mask dances. In remote villages mask dances are jointly performed by the monks and the village men. They practice for weeks ahead and the preparation involves deep prayers and meditation prior to the festival. Bhutan’s festivals are extremely colorful, lively, rich and happy expressions of its Buddhist culture.
Besides being a grand event, it is also said that all must attend Tshechu and witness the mystical mask dances at least once in order to receive blessing and to wash away their sins. All the mask dances performed during Tshechus always carry special meaning or a story behind it. Stories that dates back to as long as the 8th century during the life of Guru Padmasambhava. Many of the Tshechus end with a rare display of a giant silk applique Thangkha painting depicting Guru Padmasambhava or some other important Buddhist deity.
Two of the most popular Tshechus in the country are the Paro and Thimphu Tshechus in terms of participation and audience. Because both the places are located in the Western part of Bhutan just an hour drive from the airport which makes it easier for you to make a short trip to Bhutan. The mystical dances, engaging performances, brave fire events, mysterious naked dances, enlightening re-creations, unveiling sacred Thangkha paintings and such comprise the festive celebrations lasting over 3-4 days.
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