Amazing Festivals of Bhutan
Amazing Festivals Of Bhutan
The Kingdom of Bhutan, located on the eastern edge of the Great Himalayan range, is known as the “Land of the Thunder Dragon.” This carbon-neutral nation is also known as the world’s happiest country.
Ten beautiful festivals will give further insight into the fantastic Bhutanese culture.
It means the 10th day of the month on the Bhutanese calendar. These festivals are held in different cities, and the festival months differ according to each city, town or village. Guru Padma Shambhava, or Guru Rimpoche, the great sage and scholar, visited Tibet and Bhutan in the 8th and 9th centuries. He converted the opponents of Buddhism by reciting mantras, performing rites, and a subjugation dance to conquer local spirits and gods. These festivals commemorate the anniversary of his arrival in Bhutan.
1. Paro Tsechue
17th to 21st March 2019
It is the most famous festival in Bhutan. Trained monks and laypeople wear colourful costumes and masks to perform dances. Witnessing Tsechues is one of the best ways to experience the ancient living culture of Bhutan. The highlight of this festival is the unfurling of a giant Thangka (traditional Tibetan Buddhist painting) that covers the face of the entire monastery. The Thangka, a religious scroll, is displayed to the public. The Bhutanese believe they are blessed with eternal peace by looking at the Thangka.
2. Thimpu Tsechue
8th to 10th October 2019
Tenzing Rabgye established the Thimpu Tsechue in 1670. It is an excellent opportunity to witness the locals gathered to celebrate the festival in their most elegant traditional Gho and Kira (dresses) in the nation’s capital. Moreover, you can observe the elaborate sacred dances in colourful costumes with the locals. The Tsechue in Thimpu is one of the most popular ones. However, if you want to witness a less crowded festival, Punakha’s celebrations are the ones to observe.
3. Punakha Tsechue and Drubchen
Punakha Drubchen 2nd March to 4th March 2019
Punakha Tsechue 7th to 9th March 2019
A Drubchen is another type of celebration in Bhutan. In West Bhutan, Punakha is the winter home of the Chief Abbot of Bhutan, locally known as the Je Khenpo. After several invasions by Tibetan forces in the 17th century to seize a religious relic, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal led the Bhutanese victory. Punakha Drubchen was introduced to commemorate the triumph over the Tibetans, which has continued annually. To maintain the Bhutanese traditions, the locals requested the Government start a Tsechue in 2005. Both these festivals are celebrated with enthusiasm.
4. Jambay Lhakhang
13th November to 16th November 2019
The oldest temple in the Kingdom is the Jambay Lhakhang. They were founded in the 7th century by Songtsen Gonpo, a Tibetan King. Legend has it that a she-demon was obstructing the spread of Buddhism, which compelled the King to build 108 temples on her body across Tibet, Bhutan, and their borders. Jambay Lhakhang is one of the 108 temples. The festival here is unique, with a fire ritual held in the evening, and the crowds gather to witness the naked dance known as Tercham.
5. Jhomolhari Mountain Festival.
14th to 15th October 2019
This festival celebrates the community’s culture that lives together harmoniously with nature. The elusive snow leopard is a symbolic animal as it thrives in this area. Snow leopard-themed school children perform songs and dances during this festival.
6. Black-necked crane festival
11th November 2019
This annual festival is organized to generate awareness and understand the importance of conserving the endangered Black-necked Cranes. This festival is celebrated with cultural programs such as folk songs and dances: some of which are black-necked crane themes. In addition, the locals perform mask dances while the school children perform crane and environmental conservation-themed dramas and songs. This festival is celebrated in the courtyard of Gangtey Gompa in Phobjikha valley.
7. Haa Summer Festival
13th to 14th July 2019
Haa Valley is set amongst pristine lakes and alpine forests. Its lively and uplifting festival celebrates tradition, living culture, nomadic lifestyle, traditional sports, unique local cuisine, and religious performances. With its wild forests and rugged hills, the Haa valley is an excellent location to enjoy some of Bhutan’s best hiking. In addition, you can have a cultural immersion by participating in local sports, sampling local food, and listening to traditional songs. It is located close to the Paro international airport.
8. Nomad festival
23rd February 2020
23rd February 2019
Several nomadic communities at the northern frontier add vibrant colour, traditions, and culture to the nation. Nomadic tribes from Bumthang, Thimpu, Wanduephodrang, Trashigang, and Paro participate in this festival. They dress in traditional costumes, including clothing made from yak wool and “Brokpa” headgear conical. The women wear colourful handwoven aprons decorated and themed with flowers and animals. Colourful ribbons adorn the women’s folk plaited hair.
9. Kurjay Tsechue
11th July 2019
The festival takes place at the temple of Kurjey, which is in the Chokor valley of the Bumthang district. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche was invited to ward off the evil spirits. Thus, there are imprints of Guru Rimpoche that were left behind after he subdued the demons. The Kurjey festival unites all Bhutanese and foreigners who gather to witness the ancient mask dances while basking in Bhutan’s natural beauty.
10. Pema Gatshel Tshechue
11th to 13th November 2019
Pema Gatshel is a town in East Bhutan. Their festival is celebrated for three days. When the local dancers perform the traditional mask dances, it is believed that the spectators are blessed. It is an annual social gathering to celebrate and contemplate religion.