A festive season ahead
People in the capital are looking forward for festive seasons ahead. The monsoon has just said goodbye and with the beautiful weather around its time for celebration. We have just finished the Thimphu Drubchoe yesterday and we are all looking forward for colorful Thimphu Tshechu ahead.
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. The Tshechu attracts thousands of people many of which travel from neighboring Dzongkhags to attend the festivities. The actual Tshechu is preceded by days and nights of prayer and rituals to invoke the gods.
People in the best attire would folk to the Tendrel Thang with their families and friends to celebrate and get together. The highlight of Thimphu Tsechu is the showcase of ethnic folk dances and sacred mask dances performed by the dancers from the Royal Academy of Performing Arts and the central monastic body. The court yard of the Tendrel Thang will be flooded by the tourist and local people who have come to witness the traditionally designed colorful masks dances.
Essentially a religious event, Thimphu Tshechu holds spiritual significance for the people of Bhutan who crowd the streets of Thimphu during that time of the year.
When the dancers move to the beats of the drums and cymbals, the whole atmosphere wears a celestial look. This pious event was believed to be originated in the year 1670 during the reign of Tenzin Rabgye. Since that time, Thimphu Tsechu occupied a major part in the Bhutan social history.
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 stagetheater.
To farmers, the Tshechu is also seen as a break from farm life. It’s an occasion to celebrate, receive blessings and pray for health besides the annual three day Tshechu.
As we go back home after his eventful occasion, we pray to meet next year and take care the trash too.