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A Guide to Bhutanese Festivals

The chance to attend a Bhutanese festival (tshechu) is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity few outside the kingdom have. From the moment you enter the dzong courtyard, the energy is palpable as you find your place among locals dressed in their finest ghos and kiras, attending for both the religious merit and to join in the joyful celebration—as we are!

Bhutan custom tours to traditional Bhutanese festivalsThe timing of festivals is based on the months of the Tibetan lunar calendar. Most are multi-day affairs and celebrate the great deeds of Guru Rinpoche, who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century.

 

 

Events provide the opportunity for those living in small mountain towns and rural villages to meet up with one another and socialize, join together to exorcise evil spirits, rejoice in a new harvest, receive blessings, and wash away sins.

 

 

Bhutan festive colorsMonks and laypeople perform dances—each one has a special meaning or story behind it meant to teach something. Some are based on events from as far back as the 700s. Our Bhutanese guides are there to explain the significance of every festival element.

 

Aside from mask dances, there are sword dances, dramatic or comedic skits to highlight local initiatives, archery competitions, vendor stalls, and atsaras—jester-like characters who entertain the crowd and mystify evil spirits.

festival departures for 2020:

Hiking in the Peaceful Kingdom (12-day): Sep 22-Oct 3 and Oct 18-29 both in the Bumthang Valley

Hidden Kingdom in the Himalayas (8-day): Sep 27-Oct 4 in Thimphu

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