Festivals of Bhutan

At various times of the year, Bhutanese in towns and villages congregate to witness masked dance festivals known as Tshechu. These colorful events draw thousands of locals, some of whom have to walk for days. While the underlying purpose is spiritual, the dances are more often like plays where good triumphs over evil or depicts significant historical events, especially about the life of Bhutan's patron saint, Padmasambhava ( also known as Guru Rimpoche).

There is inevitably a great deal of socializing; it is an opportunity for people to relax and forget daily routines, to dress in their finest clothes and jewelry but, more importantly, it is an occasion for prayer and blessings. Tshechus mainly comprise mask dances in addition to some folk dance entertainment. Festivals are not pageants or entertainment events and definitely not held as tourist attractions. They are genuine manifestations of ancient religious traditions, which outsiders are given the privilege to witness.

Some of the popular Festivals and tentative festival dates for 2015 are listed below:

S.No. Festival Place Dates
1. Nomad Festival   Bumthang 23rd February
2. Bhutan International Marathon (Annual Event Organized By Bhutan Olympic Committee) 23rd February
3. Punakha Drubchen Punakha Dzong, Punakha 23rd – 27th February  
4.  Punakha Tshechu Punakha Dzong, Punakha 28th February – 2nd March  
5.  Chhorten Kora   Chorten Kora,Trashiyangtshe 5th March & 20th March
6.  Gomphu Kora Gom Kora Lhakhang, Trashigang 27th – 29th March
7.  Gasa Tshechu Gasa Dzong, Gasa 27th – 30th March
8.  Paro Tshechu Rinpung Dzong, Paro 31st March – 4th April
9.  Talo Tshechu Talogonpa, Punakha 7th April – 9th April
10. Rhododendron Festival Lamperi Botanical Garden, Dochula, Thimphu 18th – 20th April
11.  Ura Yakchoe Ura Lhakhang, Bumthang 30th April – 4th May
12.  Nimalung Tshechu Nimalung Dratshang, Chummi, Bumthang 24th – 26th June
13.  Kurjey Tshechu Kurjey Lhakhang, Choekhor 6th June  
14.  Haa Summer Festival  Town Festival Ground, Haa 5th – 6th July
15.  Masutake Mushroom Festival Ura, Bumthang 23rd – 24th August
16.  Tour Of The Dragon (Bicycle Race) Bumthang To Thimphu 5th September
17. Thimphu Drubchen    Tashi Chhodzong, Thimphu 18th – 22nd September
18.  Wangdue Tshechu Tencholing Army Ground, Wangduephodrang 21st – 23rd September
19.  Tamshing Phala Chhoepa Tamshing Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang 22nd – 24th September
20. Thimphu Tshechu Tashi Chhodzong, Thimphu 23rd – 25th September
21.  Jomolhari Mountain Festival Dangojang 8th – 9th October
22. Pemagatshel Tshechu Pemagatshel Dzong, Pemagatshel 20th – 23rd October
23.   Chhukha Tshechu Chhukha Dzong, Chhukha 21st – 23rd October
24. Thangbi Mani Tangbi Lhakhang, Choekor, Bumthang 27th – 29th October
25. Jambay Lhakhang Drup Jambay Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang 27th – 31st October
26. Prakhar Duchhoed Prakar Lhakhang, Chummi, Bumthang 28th – 30th October
27. Black Necked Crane Festival Gangtey Gonpa, Phobjikha,Wangduephodrang 11th November
28. Mongar Tshechu Mongar Dzong, Mongar 18th – 21st November 
29. Trashigang Tshechu Trashigang Dzong, Trashigang 19th – 22nd November
30. Nalakhar Tshechu Ngaa Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang 25th – 27th November
31.  Druk Wangyel Tshechu Dochula, Thimphu 13th December
32. Trongsa Tshechu Trongsa Dzong, Trongsa 20th – 22nd December  
33. Lhuentse Tshechu Lhuentse Dzong, Lhuentse 20th – 22nd December