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BHUTAN
FESTIVALS & EVENTS

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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. 

Date
Location
February
Jigme Dorji National Park

Takin Festival

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
Bumthang

Nomad Festival

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.

 
 
February/March
Punakha

Punakha Tsechu

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.

 
 
March
Paro

Paro Tsechu

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
Paro

Haa Summer Festival

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.

 
 
June
Bumthang

Nimalung Festival

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/October
Thimphu

Thimphu Tsechu

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.

 
 
October / November
Bumthang

Jambay Lhakhang Drup

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.

 
 
Meet An Asia Expert
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Our co-founder & CEO Catherine Heald counts her dinner with the Bhutanese royal family, and her private rinpoche blessing, as two of her most treasured travel memories.
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