Rare Masked Dances - One Of The Unique Features Of The Kholong Tshechu (Brawl Festival) In Bhutan

Email

“Other dances like the Pha-dong chham, Sangling Ngachham, and Terchham among others are not performed in any part of the country,” said Ugyen Dorji.

A masked dance performed in a tshechu in Bhutan. (Source: DrukAsia)

 

By Younten Tshedup | Kuensel

One of the oldest tshechus (festivals) in the east, the Kholong tshechu which is held at Yonphu in Kanlgung, Trashigang, is popular not just because it is an old festival but because of its name Kholong, which translates into ‘brawl’ in Sharchopkha.

Originally known as Yonphu tshechu, which had its origin from the name of the place, Yonphuel Ugyen Chholing, the festival is popularly known as Kholong tshechu today.

“The name’s so popular that many think it is the actual name,” said former Kanglung gup, Ugyen Dorji, who claimed that the name bears no relation to the tshechu in any sense.

Source: DrukAsia

One of the village elders, Ngawang Samdrup, said that when he was a teenager, he heard the name for the first time.

How the name “Kholong tshechu” came about

The 63-year-old said that the name was coined after a brawl that involved army personnel from Yonphula and locals during the tshechu.

“Because they were drunk, they had an argument and a brawl broke out during gambling,” said Ngawang Samdrup. He said he was 15 years old back then.

“It might have been a coincidence and similar fights are common everywhere.”   

Although no one knows for sure as to when the first tshechu commenced, Ugyen Dorji said that the Yonphuel Ugyen Chholing lhakhang is 407 years old this year.

Source: DrukAsia

“Both the lhakhang and the tshechu holds a significant place in the lives of the residents and addressing it as Kholong tshechu was derogatory.”

The former gup said that the gewog and local residents have been trying to correct people who believe that the tshechu mandates a brawl every time it is held.

A local resident, Khandu said that he had witnessed few arguments between couples and college students after getting drunk in the past tshechus.

“However, it would be wrong to relate those incidents to the tshechu. It is a common thing everywhere else,” he said.

“The only fight that happens during this tshechu is between good and evil.” 

Unique features of the Kholong tshechu

Apart from the name, the tshechu is also considered unique for its rare mask dances. One of the dances, Homchham where two dancers wear the masks of the lord of the cremation ground (durdag) was originally performed naked.    

Source: DrukAsia

“Other dances like the Pha-dong chham, Sangling Ngachham, and Terchham among others are not performed in any part of the country,” said Ugyen Dorji. 

Terton Pema Lingpa’s son, Sangdag who was offered the place where he later built the Yonphuel Ugyen Chholing lhakhang had initiated the dances.

Organised by the gewog administration and residents, the tshechu is performed thrice a year – one in June to mark the birth anniversary of Guru Rinpoche and another two in September and November.

 

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

 


Related Posts

Thimphu Tschechu 2017 - A Visual Feast

Tschechu, meaning ‘tenth day’ also corresponds to the birthday of Guru Rimpoche (Guru Padmasambhava). This festival is a...

Oct 06, 2017 18:29

Dochula Tschechu – Truly Captivating!

What makes the Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival unique is that while the mask dances performed elsewhere in Bhutan are...

Nov 24, 2017 05:19

Royal Highland Festival in Laya

To make Laya a tourist destination, the first edition of the highland festival contributed about Nu 5 million to the...

Oct 29, 2017 10:08

The Black-Necked Crane Festival

The arrival of the black-neck cranes signals the coming of winter and plays an integral role in the daily lives of the...

Nov 01, 2017 13:54

Journey to the Fascinating Royal Highland Festival in Laya

Chimi Wangmo, based in Thimphu, traversed through beautiful landscapes to witness the fascinating Royal Highland...

Dec 07, 2017 09:18

Pray to Conceive at the Chimi Lhakhang

For couples who longed to have children, miracles were said to have happened after they have received fertility...

Nov 08, 2017 08:44

Latest

News

Find Innovative Solutions For Every Challenge: Prime Minister Modi To Bhutan’s Youth

Prime Minister Modi said that he ‘sees dynamism and felt energised’ while meeting with the future of Bhutan.

Aug 18, 2019 23:58

Prime Minister Narendra Modi On 2 Day State Visit To Strengthen India-Bhutan Bilateral Ties

Prime Minister Modi is visiting Bhutan upon the invitation of Bhutan's Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering.

Aug 17, 2019 23:59

Features

Fulfilling His Majesty The King’s Vision, Digital Drukyul Is Set To Improve Public Service Delivery And Empower Citizens Digitally

Digital Drukyul will help create a digital ecosystem for citizens which is unencumbered by bureaucratic red tape.

Aug 19, 2019 15:28

National Tourism Policy To Be Implemented By July 2020: Tourism Council Of Bhutan

Promoting ‘High value and low volume’ tourism has been Bhutan’s policy for the last 50 years.

Aug 12, 2019 17:48

Sports

Two Young Bhutanese Swimmers Competed In 18th FINA World Championship

The duo are proud to represent Bhutan and compete on a worldwide stage for the first time.

Jul 28, 2019 21:32

Bhutan’s Dragon Boys Starts FIFA World Cup Qualifiers With A 1-0 Win Over Guam

Midfielder, Tshering Dorji’s 35th minute strike was enough to make Bhutan win the first leg of the first round of the 2022 World Cup and...

Jun 08, 2019 22:18

Business

Southeast Asian Company Invests Over US$100,000 In Bhutanese Start-up Drukfood

The investment includes a mix of cash and investment-in-kind.

Aug 15, 2019 14:26

Bhutan’s First Crowdfunding Platform Gaining Traction, Opens Doors For Entrepreneurs To Raise Funds

So far, three promoters - Bhutan Alternatives, Freelancer Bhutan and Himalayan food have registered with the Bhutan crowdfunding platform.

Aug 05, 2019 22:10

Travel

7 Facts You Never Knew About Flying Into Bhutan

Druk Asia interviewed Namgyal Wangchuk, Senior First Officer with Drukair to find out what it's like to fly into Paro International Airport.

Aug 07, 2019 23:18

Bhutan Has Great Potential To Be A Top Eco-Tourism Spot: Albert Teo

Despite Bhutan being home to a wide array of flora and fauna, it is still not a top ecotourism destination.

Jul 19, 2019 23:58

Lifestyle

Finding One’s Voice: Rapping In The Kingdom Of Bhutan

The lack of support for rappers stems from the general misconception that most people have about rap.

Aug 10, 2019 23:38

First Bhutan-Bollywood Film Collaboration - Rolong: Make the Dead Walk In The Making

The film is expected to hit the theatres by the middle of 2020.

Aug 04, 2019 23:58

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!