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Festivals

Bhutan is a country of festivals. The most important are the religious dance festivals, known as Tshechus, which are held in different districts, at specific times during the year. It is celebrated for three to five days. These festivals are held in the honor of Guru Rinpoche (the saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan and the Himalayan world) to commemorate his great deeds. Rare dances and sword dances are performed in the courtyards and temples of the Dzongs. The origin of most of the dances can be traced beyond the Middle Ages and are only performed once or twice a year. Each dance has its own significance and is performed by monks and villagers dressed in bright costumes. Many visitors come to Bhutan to witness these festivals held annually throughout the country. The most popular for tourists are those held in Paro during spring, Thimphu and Bumthang in autumn. The Tshechus are important religious festivals and it is believed that by attending them one gains merits and blessings. They are not somber formal religious affairs, but occasions to get together, renew acquaintances and make merry. The atsaras (traditional clowns of the Tshechu) add colour and merriment to the festival by their bawdy antics.

 

Each valley has is own special celebrations and guardian deities. The high point of the year is the Tshechu- a religious dance festival held in their honour. The Tshechu at Bumthang is well-known for taking place almost entirely during the night and containing exciting fire dances which are intended to help the childless women at the festival conceive during the forthcoming year. Tshechus attract crowds that sometimes travel from the remotest of villages. In a swirl of colour and nice, the gods and demons of Buddhist mythology come to life. The colourful ceremonies, religious theatre and exorcism ritual, are the most striking testimonies to the deep-rooted faith of Bhutan’s society.

 

Sl. No. Festival Place Dates
1 Bhutan International Marathon Annual Event organized by (BOC) 23rd February
2 Punakha Drubchen Punakha Dzong, Punakha 23rd – 27th February
3 Punakha Tshechu Punakha Dzong, Punakha 28th February – 2nd March
4 Tharpaling Tharpaling Lhakhang, Chummi 5th March
5 Chhorten Kora Chorten Kora, Trashiyangtshe 5th March & 20th March
6 Gomphukora Gom Kora Lhakhang, Trashigang 27th – 29th March
7 Talo Tshechu Talo Gonpa, Punakha 27th – 29th March
8 Gasa Tshechu Gasa Dzong, Gasa 27th – 30th March
9 Zhemgang Tshechu Zhemgang Dzong, Zhemgang 27th – 30th March
10 Peling Tshechu Wangdichoeling Palace, Bumthang (New Festival) 27th – 31st March
11 Paro Tshechu Rinpung Dzong, Paro 31st March – 4th April
12 Rhododendron Festival Lamperi Botanical Garden, Dochula, Thimphu 18th – 20th April
13 Domkhar Tshechu Domkhar, Chummi, Bumthang 28th – 30th April
14 Ura Yakchoe Ura Lhakhang, Bumthang 30th April – 4th May
15 Nimalung Tshechu Nimalung Dratshang, Chummi, Bumthang 24th – 26th June
16 Kurjey Tshechu Kurjey Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang 26th June
17 Haa Summer Festival Town Festival Ground, Haa 5th July
18 Masutaki Mushroom Festival Ura, Bumthang 22nd– 23rd August
19 Tour Of The Dragon (Bicycle Race) Bumthang To Thimphu 5th September
20 Thimphu Drubchen Tashi Chhodzong, Thimphu 19th September
21 Wangdue Tshechu Tencholing Army Ground, Wangduephodrang 21st – 23rd September
22 Gangtey Tshechu Gangtey Gonpa, Phobjikha, Wangduephodrang 26th – 28th September
23 Tamshing Phala Chhoepa Tamshing Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang 23rd – 25th September
24 Thimphu Tshechu Tashi Chhodzong, Thimphu 23rd – 25th September
25 Thangbi Mani Tangbi Lhakhang, Choekor, Bumthang 27th – 29th September
26 Chhukha Tshechu Chhukha Dzong, Chhukha 20th – 22nd October
27 Jakar Tshechu Jakar Dzong, Choekhor, Bumthang 21st – 23rd October
28 Pemagatshel Tshechu Pemagatshel Dzong, Pemagatshel 25th – 27th October
29 Jambay Lhakhang Drup Jambay Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang 27th – 30th October
30 Prakhar Duchhoed Prakar Lhakhang, Chummi, Bumthang 28th – 30th October
31 Black Necked Crane Festival Gangtey Gonpa, Phobjikha, Wangduephodrang 11th November
32 Mongar Tshechu Mongar Dzong, Mongar 18th – 21st November
33 Trashigang Tshechu Trashigang Dzong, Trashigang 19th – 22nd November
34 Jambay Lakhang Singye Cham Jambay Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang 25th November
35 Nalakhar Tshechu Ngaa Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang 25th – 27th November
36 Druk Wangyel Tshechu Dochula, Thimphu 13th December
37 Trongsa Tshechu Trongsa Dzong, Trongsa 20th – 22nd December
38 Lhuentse Tshechu Lhuentse Dzong, Lhuentse 20th – 22nd December
39 Nabji Lhakhang Drup Nabji Lhakhang, Nabji, Trongsa 25th – 27th December