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

Their Majesties, Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering And Other Dignitaries Of Bhutan Offered Prayers For Sri Lanka

His Majesty also sent a message of condolence to the President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, expressing the solidarity of the people...

Apr 24, 2019 20:08

WFP Shifts Focus To Capacity Development In Nutrition And Disaster Preparedness In Bhutan

The decision was made after consultations with Bhutan's government, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Apr 19, 2019 13:02

Features

Addressing Some Challenges As Bhutan Prepares For Rise In Tourist Arrivals

The gross receipt from tourism is expected to increase from Nu 10.6 billion in 2018 to about Nu 39.16 billion in the next five years.

Apr 23, 2019 17:40

How Bhutan Has Changed Me: Julie Chapman

Julie Chapman, who is from the California, speaks about how life was like for her while living in Bhutan.

Apr 18, 2019 10:20

Sports

Bhutan To Hold First 'Sports And Culture Festival' For Runners And Cyclists

There are two tiers to the event, comprising of a full-race distance of 50km and a half-race of 25km.

Mar 06, 2019 17:14

Bhutan’s HRH Princess Eeuphelma Choden Wangchuck Attended The General Assembly of the Asian Paralympic Committee In Dubai

The General Assembly is the highest decision making body of the Asian Paralympic Movement.

Feb 08, 2019 18:15

Business

Celebrating Bhutan's Entrepreneurs: Kinley Dema Of BuBu Bakery, Lobesa

This story is part of an exclusive feature by Yeewong Magazine in Dec 2018 on celebrating entrepreneurship in Bhutan.

Apr 20, 2019 19:18

Celebrating Bhutan's Entrepreneurs: Sonam Choden of Rolling Pin Bakery in Thimphu

This story is part of an exclusive feature by Yeewong Magazine in Dec 2018 on celebrating entrepreneurship in Bhutan.

Apr 11, 2019 11:08

Travel

Can Bhutan Take Its Happiness Brand To The Next Level?

Two key challenges: galvanising citizens as brand ambassadors and applying brand recognition to growth sectors.

Apr 21, 2019 10:40

The Magical Waters Of Gasa Tsachu – A Popular Hot Spring In Bhutan

While most people visit the hot spring in the hope that it could cure them of various ailments, it has become an annual visit for many to...

Mar 25, 2019 14:38

Lifestyle

Food Review: Cloud9 Cafe & Bar

Cloud9 has always been known in Thimphu for dishing out handcrafted gourmet burgers.

Mar 09, 2019 09:44

Tshering Zangmo Represents Bhutan At The 5th Young Chef Olympiad In India

Tshering Zangmo has successfully made it to round two of the Olympiad.

Feb 04, 2019 16:35

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!