Tshechu is a religious festival meaning “tenth day” held annually in various temples, monasteries and dzongs throughout the country.
Tshechu is the showcase of the mask dance which has its root in various divinities of Buddhist aspects and in its true sense it is called ‘Tshechu’, which in the loose translation means the 10th day of a month of the Bhutanese Lunar calendar. During the tshechu, mask dance and historical folk dances in colourful costumes are performed by both monks and laymen.
One of the distinct features of tshechu is the presence of Atsarsa (Clown), who keeps the audience entertained and amused by his act. It is very important know the name of the dances and their significance. This festive events where people from all walks of life would be in their best of attire and fly in colourful dresses and it’s a time where the families, relatives and friends would get together and rejoice the moments.
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 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 the mask dances are performed by monks and in remote villages they are performed jointly by monks and village men.
The Tsehchu is considered a major attraction and people travel from neighboring districts to participate in the festivity. Early in the morning on the last day of the celebration the monks display a gigantic thangkha (embroidered painting), the Guru Throngdel, inside the dzong. Thongdrols are especially impressive examples of Buddhist art and never fail to amaze viewers. They are considered so sacred that simply seeing a Thongdrol is said to cleanse one’s sin.
Two most popular Tshechus in the country are the Paro (held in early spring) and Thimphu Tshechu (held in early autumn) in terms of participation and audience. Besides the locals many tourists from across the world are attracted to these unique, colourful and exciting displays of traditional culture. This tour would give you a real appreciation of both the Buddhist faith and the Bhutanese way of life. So be Bhutanese in Bhutan for one day with the Bhutanese crowd. Feel the essence of the Bhutanese way of life.