The deeply ingrained traditions of Bhutan are best expressed through its many annual festivals. From each district’s own Tsechu - held to honor Guru Rimpoche, where elaborate, religious masked dances are performed - to the gatherings of the nomadic communities where the country’s rich natural heritage is celebrated, all aspects of Bhutan’s culture can be enjoyed through the festivities.
February 21-23 2016
The Takin is the national animal of Bhutan and this two-day festival honors the creature, while celebrating the rich ecological heritage of the area. People travel from all around to Jigme Dorji National Park in Gasa, where they go on treks, bathe in the hot springs and watch the nomadic herders weaving with raw materials.
February 23 2016
This three-day annual festival celebrates the nomadic communities in Bhutan as they gather together in the countryside of Bumthang to share their traditions and cultures. There is a ceremonial parade, traditional dances are performed and games are played. Crowds gather to cook, eat and socialize together and sell their products and crafts.
March 7 - 9 2017
The annual festival at Punakha is of particular importance as the district is the winter home of the Abbot of Bhutan; it was introduced in order to preserve Buddhist teachings and traditions. Over three days, people make a pilgrimage to the district to hear the monks chanting scriptures and to watch the traditional historical dances.
April 7 - 11 2017
The three-day Paro Tsechu is one of the most important, famous and colourful festivals in the Bhutanese calendar. The first day brings traditional masked dance performances, followed by a ceremony on day two. On the final day, monks display an embroidered painting in the temple, which visitors view to cleanse their sins.
July 5 2017
This two-day celebration takes place in the Haa valley. Visitors come to the area to enjoy the traditions and culture of nomadic Bhutan, eat authentic food, and take part in traditional games as well as folk music and dancing. It is also an opportunity to see the indigenous alpine flowers and the Noblang, the sacred cattle of Haa.
July 1-3 2017
This three-day festival is held in the Lhakhang Monastery of Nimalung, home to a huge statue of Guru Rimpoche. There are colorful, masked dances depicting stories from history and an enormous scroll painting of the Guru on display, which devotees from all around travel to the district to see, because it is said to absolve their sins.
September 30 - October 2 2017
This three-day festival held in the capital city is one of the biggest and most important in all of Bhutan. Thousands of visitors flock to see the celebrations, which include a number of vibrant masked dance performances of religious stories and plays by Astaras, or ceremonial clowns; their jesting is said to ward off evil spirits.
November 3-6 2017
This five-day festival is held at the Jambay Lhakhang monastery in Bumthang, an ancient temple deemed particularly sacred by Guru Rimpoche. Traditional dance performances common to most Tsechus take place but most popular is a remarkable sacred ritual held at midnight when monks take part in naked fire dancing.