Efforts Made To Preserve Bhutan’s Unique Tradition Of Zhey

Email

Zheys are described as traditional Bhutanese folk songs. They are also sometimes referred to as classical dances.

Bhutanese women performing Zhey. (Source: Gps.travel)

 

By Changa Dorji | BBS

Many Bhutanese would know, or at least, have heard about Goen Zhey of Gasa, Wang Zhey of Thimphu, Nub Zhey of Trongsa and Woochupai Zhey of Paro. What many probably may not know is that there are several other Zheys apart from the main four Zheys which are more well-known in Bhutan.

What are Zheys?

Zheys are described as traditional Bhutanese folk songs. They are also sometimes referred to as classical dances.

The minor Zheys include Auley of Laya, Locho of Sha, Bonghur Zhey of Haa, and the Miritsemoi Zhey of Chukha.

 

Bhutanese dancers perform four major zheys (Goen Zhey of Gasa, Wang Zhey of Thimphu, Nub Zhey of Trongsa, Woochupai Zhey of Paro) and four minor zheys (Auley of Laya, Locho of Sha, Bonghur Zhey of Haa and Miritsemoi Zhey of Chukha)

Source:Sherub Dorji/Bhutangangchen

 

Of the less popular Zheys, the Lingzhipai Zhey could be the least known. A few studies have been done on the Zheys of Bhutan, but the Lingzhipai Zhey is barely mentioned.

Like most other Zheys, the origin and composition of the Lingzhipai Zhey are identified with the time of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel.

What sets Lingzhipai Zhey apart, though is that it is performed by both men and women together. The main Zheys are performed by men only.

Zheys are mainly performed during local festivals

The main Zheys are sung and danced only during local festivals, mainly Tshechus. Again the Lingzhipai Zhey is unique in that it is performed during an annual local traditional archery match that takes place in the Gangyul village of Lingzhi Gewog.

The archery match is held in the third Bhutanese month every year and Lingzhipai Zhey is a mandatory performance at the match.

“At one point, the Zhey was on the verge of disappearance,” Lingzhi Gewog Mangmi Tendrel Zangpo said.

However, the Jhomolhari Mountain Festival has given it a new lease of life.

“We were asked by Soe Gewog to perform the Zhey during the mountain festival. It was performed by 20 locals last year and about 40 locals performed the Zhey this year,” the Mangmi added.

Traditional costumes worn during a Zhey performance

The male dancers wear red woollen gho paired with black tego. They also wear the white lagay, khamar kabney and tshoglam and they carry a patang or sword.

Nub Choetepi Zhey of Trongsa

Source: Bhutankdttravel 

 

The women dancers wear a kira called 'Nyi-thi' and a drape called 'Charkap' which is a robe-like hand-woven scarf over their back.

While the men wear furry red caps, the women don a similar cap which is yellow in colour. The women dancers also adorn themselves with colourful neck ornaments.

Efforts made to preserve the traditional practice of Zhey

Thinley Chezom was one of the female performers. “We are doing our bit to preserve the folk songs by performing it at such events,” she said.

“We are also teaching our children whatever we’ve learned from our elders. We hope to perform better in the next festival since the performance this year did not match our expectations.”

Chimi Dorji, a male dancer said that he is not worried about its disappearance.

“Our younger generation is learning the Zhey from the elders, so I don’t think we need to worry about it disappearing,” he said.

“Also, it’s mandatory for a man and woman each from every household to perform the Zhey during the annual archery tournament. Moreover, the government has been encouraging us to preserve it.”

 

This article first appeared in BBS and has been edited for the Daily Bhutan.

 


Related Posts

Study Finds Homestays And Eco-tourism Helped Preserve Bhutan’s...

The evaluation found that 98 percent of the homestays used exclusive traditional products like local food products and...

Aug 25, 2018 16:17

Discover Raju’s Passion For Making The Traditional Bhutanese Bow...

The class VI drop-out earns at least Nu 8,000 a month by making bows and arrows.

Aug 08, 2018 16:09

63 Year Old Traditional Healer In Bhutan Has Fixed More Than A...

For more than three decades, Tashi Wangdi has been fixing fractures and sprained joints in Trashigang.

Jun 23, 2018 08:43

CDK - A Contemporary And Eco-Friendly Clothing Line By Chandrika...

Chandrika Tamang was inspired to come up with her own line of designer clothing to fill the void in the market for...

Sep 29, 2018 16:19

Traditional Medicine Marks 50 Years Of Services In Bhutan

Bhutan's traditional medicine system was formally established on May 28, 1968.

Jun 08, 2018 15:08

Bhutan Film Festival Held In Sikkim To Commemorate 50 Years Of...

Bhutanese celebrities and Sikkim’s local artists performed various traditional and cultural performances at the...

Jul 15, 2018 14:32

Latest

News

Bhutan Launched 21st Century Economic Roadmap To Engage Citizens On Nation’s Progress

Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering launched the website and it can be accessed through http://economicroadmap.gnhc.gov.bt

Feb 25, 2020 23:38

Bhutan’s Tarayana Foundation Launched Micro-loans For Rural Community Development

The pilot phase of the programme will start from this year in Samtse, Tsirang and Zhemgang for 18 months.

Feb 21, 2020 23:48

Features

Tribes Of Bhutan - The Brokpas

Merak and Sakteng is home to the Brokpas, a semi-nomadic yak herding tribe who originated from the Tshoona region of Tibet.

Feb 22, 2020 23:48

Symbolism Of The Colourful Prayer Flags Of Bhutan

Learn about the rich symbolism of the colourful prayer flags of Bhutan.

Feb 16, 2020 23:28

Sports

Karma – Female Archer From Bhutan Qualified For Tokyo 2020 Olympic Quota

Karma has been specialising in Olympics-style archery since 2009.

Nov 30, 2019 13:18

Bhutan’s Pelden Wangchuk Wins 10th Edition Of Tour 0f Dragon Mountain Bike Race

This year, the race also saw the highest number of female participants compared to past years.

Sep 10, 2019 01:08

Business

Centre Of Excellence For Software Engineering Launched By Bhutan’s Thimphu Techpark

The purpose of establishing this centre is to fulfil His Majesty the King’s vision of using technology to solve problems.

Feb 24, 2020 23:58

Two ‘Made In Bhutan’ Products To Hit The Market Soon, Also Eyeing Overseas Foray

Druk Peci and Bhutan Green Product were launched on 19 February.

Feb 20, 2020 23:38

Travel

Forging the Unbeaten Trail Towards Wangdue Nye

When you dedicate year 2020 to hike on unbeaten trails in Bhutan.

Jan 21, 2020 10:58

Make Your Own Personalised Stamps And Discover Bhutan’s Postal History At The Postal Museum

The Bhutan Postal Museum in Thimphu is also a major tourist attraction.

Jan 18, 2020 21:08

Lifestyle

See Exquisite Garments On Display At The ‘Royal Robes - Wangchuck Dynasty’ Exhibition

The exhibition will remain open to the public until January 2021.

Feb 19, 2020 23:28

Nightlife in Bhutan

The nightlife is delaying the day by engaging with fun and recreational activities at owl hours. Thimphu Nightlife could fascinate you.

Feb 08, 2020 12:22

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!