The Buddhist faith has played an integral role in the social and cultural evolution of the country and its people. It is Buddhism which provides a cohesive force among the communities and forms the social fabric that strengthens the communal kinship and identity of the Bhutanese. The abiding and deep faith finds expression in the form of wood and metal works, prayer flags, thangka paintings, wall murals, and in the form of music, songs and dances at the various annual festivals.

It is not surprising that many foreign visitors come to Bhutan to witness these vibrant and colourful religious festivals held annually throughout the country. The most important are the Tshechus, which are held in different districts for four to five days, at specific times during the year.

Rare masked and sword dances and other ritual ceremonies are performed in the courtyards and temples of the Dzongs. The origin of most of these sacred dances can be traced beyond the middle ages and are performed once or twice a year. Each sequence of dance has its own significance and is performed by monks dressed in bright traditional costumes. The most popular for visitors and tourists are those held in Paro during Spring (March) and in Thimphu and Bumthang in autumn ( September-October).

These festivals apart from their enduring religious significance also provides an occasion for the locals to get together in their ëSunday bestí to renew old friendships and to forge new alliances all against the backdrop of a colourful religious ceremony.

e-mail: norda@druknet.bt or karmawangmo@gmail.com
PO. Box 1419, Thimphu, Bhutan
Tel: 975-2-326818, 325743, 329116 and Fax : 975-2-326818