Thim­phu Tshechu brings com­mu­ni­ties to­gether

Bhutan Times - - Home - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing

Thim­phu Tshechu is very sig­nif­i­cant an­nual event that brings to­gether en­tire com­mu­ni­ties to witness re­li­gious and col­or­ful tra­di­tional dances, re­ceive bless­ings and to so­cial­ize.

Thou­sands of peo­ple from across the coun­try and many tourists at­tended the fes­ti­val this year. Peo­ple were dressed in their finest clothes and their fam­i­lies mix around and are a part of this ground spec­tac­u­lar oc­ca­sion rev­el­ing in their packed lunches.

On 11 Oc­to­ber, Sa Chog Zhana 21, Zhana Nga cham, Kel Cham, Pho­lay Mo­lay and Gyalp Gyelm, Dramitse Nga cham and Shaow Tha ley Toen Ni were per­formed by Cen­tral Monas­tic Body (CMB) and Royal Academy of Per­form­ing Arts (RAPA).

On 12 Oc­to­ber, Durdag Cham fol­lowed by Tung Ngam Cham, Rak­sha Go Cham and Rak­sha Mang Cham were per­formed for the pub­lic.

Sim­i­larly, on 8 Oc­to­ber, Ser Dreng Ber Kor, Guru Tshen­gay Ku Cham, Pa Cham, Ringma Chu­dru (Ngachu), Durdag Cham, Tshogling Cham, Ringma Chu­dru (Pachu), Pawa Yuel Dhu Zhug Pi Cham, Pawa Mag Zing Gi Cham and Pawa Yuel La Gya­lyi Cham were per­formed by CMB, RAPA and Royal Bhutan Army.

The most pop­u­lar dances per­formed dur­ing the fes­ti­val were Shaw Shachi (Dance of the stags) and Guru Tshengye (Eight Man­i­fes­ta­tions of Guru) among oth­ers.

The fes­ti­val is pre­ceded by days and nights of prayer and rit­u­als to in­voke the gods.

Dur­ing Thim­phu Tshechu, the mask dances and folk dances are per­formed to bless the spec­ta­tors to teach the Bud­dhist dharma, to pro­tect them from mis­for­tune and to ex­or­cise all evil.

Wit­ness­ing the dances and re­ceiv­ing bless­ings is be­lieved to re­move sin and take one closer to­wards at­tend­ing nir­vana or en­light­en­ment.

It is also be­lieved that one gains merit by at­tend­ing th­ese fes­ti­vals. The dances in­voke the deities to wipe out mis­for­tunes, in­crease good luck and grant per­sonal wishes.

In ad­di­tion to the mask dances, the Tshechu pre­sents col­or­ful Bhutanese dances and other forms of en­ter­tain­ment. RAPA and Thim­phu Dzongkhag per­form tra­di­tional dances fol­lowed by mask dances.

Ev­ery mask dance per­formed dur­ing an oc­ca­sion has a spe­cial mean­ing or a story based on the religion.

Thim­phu Tshechu was ini­ti­ated by the 4th Desi ( re­gent), Gyalse Ten­zin Rab­gay, in 1867. There were only few dances then per­formed strictly by monks which were Zhana Cham, Zhana Nga Cham, Durdag, and Tungam Cham.

How­ever, in the 1950s, the third Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in­tro­duced many Boed Cham, a mask dances per­formed by lay monks.

The clas­si­cal dances in Bhutan are re­flected in the re­li­gious mask pageants and rit­ual dances. The Tshechu is held in honor of the great Guru Rin­poche, who in­tro­duced Bud­dhism to Bhutan in the 8th cen­tury.

The scared Thong­drol of Guru Rin­poche is un­furled early in the morn­ing on the last day of the tshechu. It is be­lieved that the Thong­drol is un­veiled at dawn to bring bless­ings to all the viewers.

Thim­phu Tshechu is one of the big­gest fes­ti­vals in the coun­try and the an­nual tshechu was held at Ten­drel Thang of Tashich­hod­zong in Thim­phu. The fes­ti­val was held after a three­day an­nual Thim­phu drubchen.

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