Tsechu

Tsechu festival is held in Bhutan on the 10th day of month according to the lunar Tibetan calendar. The actual month depends on the place where the festival is organized. According to western calendar tsechu is usually organized sometime around October. This Drukpa Buddhist festival exists in all districts (“dzongkhag”) of the country. It lasts for 4 days. The most important tsechu festivals are the Thimphu Tsechu and the Paro Tsechu.

Dance of the Black Hats at the Paro Tsechu
Dance of the Black Hats at the Paro Tsechu

The main attraction of tsechu is the cham dance. This dance is performed by masked and costumed dancers. It includes certain moral teachings based on the events from the life of the 9th century Nyingmapa (the oldest of four schools of Tibetan Buddhism) teacher Padmasambhava and other saints.

The attraction that also appear on most tsechu festivals is a “thongdrel” or “thangka.” Thongdrel is a big tapestry with Guru Rinpoche and some holy beings depicted on it. It is is believed that a person is cleaned of all sins when he/she sees the tapestry. Thongdrel is unrolled before dawn and rolled up by morning.