Festivals are annual religious Bhutanese tshechu held in each district or Dzongkhag of Bhutan on the tenth day of a month of the Lunaar Tibetan Calender. The focal point of the tshechus is Cham dances (mask dances). Most tshechus also feature the unfurling of a thongdrel – a large applique thangka typically depicting a seated Padmasambhava surrounded by holy beings, the mere viewing of which is said to cleanse the viewer of sin. The Thongdrel is raised before dawn and rolled down by morning.

It is believed that everyone must attend a Tshechu and witness the mask dances at least once to in order to receive blessings and wash away their bad sins. Every mask dance performed during a Tshechu has a special meaning or a story behind it and many are based on stories and incidents from as long ago as the 8th century, during the life of Guru Padmasambhava. In monasteries monks perform the mask dances and in remote villages monks and village men perform them jointly.

Two of the most popular Tshechus in the country are the Paro and Thimphu Tshechus in terms of participation and audience. Besides the locals many tourists from across the world are attracted to these unique, colorful and exciting displays of traditional culture.

Your trip can be planned to coincide with the festivals if you are interested.

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