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What is festival?

Bhutan is one of the most religious countries in the Tibetan Buddhist world. And like in all Buddhist nations. Festivals have a special place in the hearts of its residents. Most of the Bhutanese festivals commemorate the deeds of the Buddha, or those of the great masters of the past associated with one Buddhist tradition or another. Bhutanese culture is characterized by religious celebrations. Its people love socializing, attending festivals, joking, playing and doing all the things that help them to be in the spirit of celebration.

(Tsechu is religious festival (Tse means date and Chu means ten: i.e. 10th days) this festival is celebrated to commemorate the great deeds of the 8th century Tantric Master Guru Padmasambhava. Popularly Known as Guru Rinpoche the precious teacher who was born from lotus flower or simply Guru as he is referred to introduce the Nyingma school of Buddhism into Tibet and Bhutan. Each 10th day of the lunar is said to commemorate a special event in the life of Padmasambhava and some of these are dramatized in the context of a religious festival. Most of the festivals last from three to five days- of which one day usually falls on the 10th day of the lunar calendar. It is not just the time for people to get together, dress up and enjoy a convivial light hearted atmosphere, but also a time to renew ones faith, receive blessing by watching the scared dances, or receive empowerment from lama or Buddhist monk.

Tshechus are annual religious Bhutanese festivals held in each District at the courtyard of Dzongs (Administrative Center) monasteries/ Temples of Bhutan in different day of the Bhutanese lunar calendar.

During Tshechus, monks as well as laymen perform the dances. The Tshechu is a religious festival and by attending it, it is believed one gains merit. It is also a yearly social gathering where the people, dressed in all their finery, come together to rejoice dressed in all their finery.

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 monks perform the mask dances and in remote villages monks and village men perform them jointly.

Some of the most popular Tshechus in the country are the Paro,Thimphu,Punakha and Jambay Lhakhang drup in Bumthang festivals 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.

Images of Tshechu (Festival)