Festival Dates 2020
Every monastery in Bhutan holds one Tshechu Festival each year, where hundreds of Lamas and Monks enact ancient stories in animated sacred dances and songs. Since Tshechu means “10th day”, each province holds their festival on the 10th day of the Bhutanese calendar month to honor the birth date of Guru Padmasambhava. The Tshechu is so important in each city, that everyone dresses up in their finest Kira or Gho to see, to be seen, to sing, dance, and to receive blessings. It is believed that every Bhutanese person must attend at least one Tshechu every year to cleanse the spirit and live in harmony with the unseen world.
2020 Our Most Popular Festival Dates:
|March 2,3,4||Punakha Drubchhen||Punakha Dzong, Punakha|
|Mar 5,6,7||Punakha Tshechu||Punakha Dzong, Punakha|
|April 1,2,3||Gomphukora||Gom Kora Lhakhang, Trashigang|
|April 4,5,6,7,8||Paro Tsechu||Rinpung Dzong, Paro (Thongdral on last day)|
|May 4,5,6,7,8||Ura Yakchoe||Ura Lhkhang, Bumthang|
|June 30||Kurjey Tsechu||Kurjey Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang|
|June 30, July 1||Nimalung Tsechu||Nimalung Dratshang, Chumni, Bumthang|
|Sept 22||Thimphu Drupchen||Tashi Chhodzong, Thimphu|
|Sept 24, 25, 26||Wangdue Tsechu||Tencholing Army Ground, Wangduephodrang|
|Sept 26,27,28||Tamshing Phala Chhoepa||Tamshing Lhakhang, Bumthang|
|Sept 26,27, 28||Thimphu Tsechu||Tashi Chhodzong, Thimphu|
|Sept 29, 30, Oct 1,2||Tangbi Mani||Tangbi Lhakhang, Choekor, Bumthang|
|Oct 23, 24, 25, 26, 27||Jakar Tshechu||Jakar Dzong, Choekhor, Bumthang|
|Oct 31, Nov 1,2,3||Jambay Lhakhang Drup||Choekhor, Bumthang|
|Nov 1,2,3||Prakhar Duchhoed||Prakar Lhakhang, Chummi, Bumthang|
|Nov 22,23,24,25||Trashigang Tsechu||Trashigang Dzong, Trashigang|
|Nov 30,Dec 1,2||Nalakhar Tsechu||Ngaa Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang|
|Dec 10,11,12,13||Trongsa Tsechu||Trongsa Dzong, Trongsa (Thongdral on last day)|
|December 13||Druk Wangyel Tshechu||Dochula Pass|
|Dec 29,30,31||Nabji Korphu Tsechu||Nabji Lhakhang, Nabji, Trongsa|
(Note to Sonam and Ghalem, These are the top attended festivals in 2017, arranged by month in 2020)
Tshechu legends are authentic shared history of Bhutan. By strengthening the roots to memories, tribe, and family, the Tshechu is a gift to remember ancient roots, national identity and self-respect. Buddhism teaches that events don’t just “happen” out of nowhere. Although we may imagine ourselves to be independent, all events have roots in the past. This is the magic of life, where heroes and perpetrators are all connected, weaving like threads into patterns that determine our fate.
People’s deep faith and devotion make the Tshechu festivals special occasions. Yes, the carnival excitement is palpable, but this is quite different from a ball game in the US where a crowd goes wild about a ball going into a goal. A Tshechu is an enactment of ancient shared memories that’s unique in the world.
Tshechus are the fusion of religious festival and social bonding shared by people of many remote villages. Bhutanese believe coming to a Tshechu blessing will purify them and help them live in harmony, health, and wellbeing.
Long before the Tshechu date and behind the scenes, Monks and Lamas are preparing in deep meditation, chanting, and dance practice. The Tshechu is a rich form of oral history, a tradition where the Bhutanese pass on values, mythology, and spiritual beliefs through the dance dramas.
Many of the Tshechu dances enact events from the life of Padmasambhava, to invoke protection, to illustrate the subjugation of demons and obstacles, and celebrate the victory of good over evil. Like a live theater, dancers act out stories such as the Dance of the Four Stags, The Three Kings, the Dances of the Lord of Death, and more. Modern jesters called “Atsaras” wander around creating mischief, performing short skits to disseminate health and social awareness messages. A Tshechu is a happy and necessary break from farm work, a time to celebrate, receive blessings and pray for happiness.
“Monks and Lamas believe that through their dances enacting ancient legends, they send blessings throughout the world to purify karmic debts and empower all beings to reach their highest destiny.”