The word ‘Tshechu’ means tenth day of the moon calendar. These festivities last three to five days, always around the tenth of the month. Each district holds its own Tshechu festivities, often at the impressive Dzongs, monastery castles that are home to both religious centres and district administration (Dzongkhags). Both monks and government officials work at these locations.
Back to the celebrations: As fantastic the myths sound, as multifaceted and fantastic are the ceremonies. The scary wooden masks the dancers wear are true pieces of art. The same is true for their colourful costumes. Each dance has its own meaning, a story from the past, which is intended to help people gain understanding and insights to improve their Karma. Often important Lamas perform blessings at these festivities. That is why the Bhutanese, whether young or elderly, farmer or official, travel in their finest Kira’s and Gho’s to Tshechus and witness the festivities.
Something special during those celebrations are Atsaras – clowns that make people laugh between or even during dances with their jokes. With their red masks and the phallus on their head, they make fun of everything and everyone, making these events quite entertaining.
The mixture between religion and fun is something unique, and so are the people of Bhutan. Anyone who was fortunate enough to experience a Tshechu surely will never forget it.