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

Bhutan is expected to receive the first consignment of the vaccines today

According to Indian media, the consignment of 150,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield for Bhutan was airlifted...

Jan 20, 2021 15:04

What are the different local governments in Bhutan?

Bhutan’s development planning is guided by the development philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH), which encompasses four pillars that...

Jan 19, 2021 11:03

Features

What are the types of traditional dances and music in Bhutan?

In general, there are three classifications of Bhutanese classical and contemporary performance - Zhungdra, Boedra and Rigsar.

Jan 17, 2021 20:27

Splendid Bhutanese architecture inspired the design of the entire university campus in Texas

The architectures of the Kingdom of Bhutan are undisputedly world-class.

Jan 14, 2021 15:24

Sports

Contributing to the country through the love for football

It's been a month since the conclusion of Bhutan Premier League 2020. Daily Bhutan interviews Paro FC to find out more about the club. Below...

Dec 21, 2020 17:05

Football clubs in Bhutan gearing up for Bhutan Premier League (BPL) 2020

Bhutan Premier League (BPL), the top national football tournament in Bhutan is set to commence on August 1.

Jul 24, 2020 14:33

Business

Authentic Bhutanese Souvenirs from Eastern Bhutan

Every district and village produce distinct products in Bhutan. To encourage rural communities to produce more authentic souvenirs and...

Dec 25, 2020 22:13

Bhutan- The Kingdom of Peppers

Bhutan is a country with the highest per-capita consumption of chilli.

Sep 26, 2020 09:15

Travel

Bhutan Strives to Keep Up With 4th Industrial Revolution through Digitalization in Tourism Sector

The pandemic has affected the tourism industry globally including Bhutan. The stakeholders involved in the tourism industry is taking the...

Jan 12, 2021 00:38

Dakpa princess entombed inside popular stupa in Trashi Yangtse

Every year, the stupa is a holy site for two major festivals - the Dakpa Kora held on the 15th of the first lunar month and the Drukpa Kora...

Dec 23, 2020 00:44

Lifestyle

Food on Wheels- First of its kind in Bhutan

The World's Largest Fast Food Restaurant Chains doesn't exist in Bhutan.

Mar 04, 2020 09:39

Amazing Stories from the Eastern Part of Bhutan

You can't say you have visited the eastern part of Bhutan unless you have experienced the following bizarre things.

Mar 02, 2020 19:02

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!