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Festivals and Dances

The festive time for every Bhutanese is the Tsechu celebrated at every Dzong (fortress) most of which were built in the 16th Century. The major events are Mask dance known as Cham, which take place for 3-4 days and in honor of Guru Rimpoche. Performed by both monks and laymen,

The Bhutanese people would have witnessed 12 episodes by the end of the festival. It is a must for every Bhutanese to see and understand every dance as this gains you merit and brings you luck . It is also a time when people from all over leave all their farm work, dress in their best attires and jewellery and rejoice together.

Most of the dances were introduced by the Shabdrung and Terton Pema Lingpa in the 1600s. Some of the mask and costumes date back to the time the dances were introduced. The dances are done to perfection as the deities enter the performers body and then it is the deities themselves performing for the viewers. Most monasteries also have a festival, a combination of the Tsechu along with the local mask dances

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Zhana Chham

The dancers of Zhana chham wear wide tall black hats. felt boots and long colorful brocade dresses. The aim is to pacify the evil spirits of the ground and to take possession of the site from them.

Tungam Chham

The dancers of Tungam Chham wear beautiful brocade dresses, boots, and a terrifying mask. They draw in and encircle the evil spirits and capture them in a box. The chief dancer then dystroys them by stabbing them with a ritual danger.

Ging Tsholing Chham

This is a dance which combines two groups of characters namely "Ging" and "Tsholing".

Dramitse Nga Chham
Dramitse Nga Chham is performed by sixteen dancers, wach wearing a mask representing an animal or a bird. The dancers have a Nga (drum) in their left hand and a drum stick in their right hand.


Shazam Chham
The dance is performed by four dancers wearing knee length silk skirts and stag masks. Guru Rinpochhe subdued the God of Wind who was causing suffering to the people of the world.

Durdag Chham
Durdag Chham is the dance of the Loads of the Cremation Grounds and is performed by four dancers. They all wear white costumes and white skull masks.



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