guruFestivals or Tshechu (“tenth day”) are festivals held every year in various temples, monasteries and dzongs across Bhutan. It is mainly a religious event celebrated on the 10th day of the month of Lunar Calendar corresponding to the birthday of Guru Padmasambhava, an 8th century Buddhist teacher.

Tshechu is not simply a festival conducted for entertainment; it is a series of sacred events choreographed to promote happiness yet with the intent to ultimately cultivate an enlightened mind in all attendees. The festival is a sacred event conducted by fully ordained monks and enlightened masters.

Chhams or “Religious Mask Dances” are usually performed during

Tshechus, mainly to convey religious messages to the people. Some were composed by Guru Rinpoche and others by Tertoen Pema Lingpa, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and other great saints. During the mask dances, the deities of the tantric teachings are invoked and through their power and blessings, misfortunes are removed. All evil spirits are suppressed so that the doctrine of the Buddha flourish and bring joy and happiness to all sentient beings.

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