Thimphu Tsechu

Thimphu Tsechu

September-October
Thimphu Tsechu is a three-day festival of religious ceremonies and costumed dances held in Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Tsechu means "tenth day" and is used in much the same way as "festival" is used in English. Many of the dances performed at the tsechu are designed to teach lessons about how one's behavior on earth affects the afterlife, while others are believed to influence the actions of the spirits or to purify sacred ground.
Perhaps the most famous and exotic of the cham dances performed at the festival is the Dance of the Drummers from Dametsi, thought to have been introduced by a saint who lived in the 16th century. The dance represents the vision of the heavenly castle of Guru Rinpoche, which the saint saw in a dream. It is performed by 12 men who wear animal masks and yellow skirts. They bang on beautifully adorned drums to celebrate the victory of Mahayana Buddhism. They jump about and execute complex patterns, which symbolize the playful antics of the gods and spirits of the afterlife.
CONTACTS:
Bhutan Tourism Corporation Ltd.
P.O. Box 159
Thimphu, Bhutan
975-322647; fax: 975-23392
www.kingdomofbhutan.com
SOURCES:
WildPlanet-1995, p. 224