Bhutan Festivals Calendar 2019

Posted on 08/March/2018

Festivals in the Land of the Thunder Dragon are rich and happy expressions of its ancient Buddhist culture. These festivals are held in all districts in honour of Guru Rinpoche, the saint who introduced Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century. Tsechus are held on auspicious days and months in the Bhutanese calendar, and last up to four days in which a series of highly stylised masked dance rituals are performed.
 
Festivals are also a big family and social occasions. People dress up in their finest clothes and most resplendent jewelry of coral and turquoise. They pack picnic lunches in their traditional bamboo baskets and stay all day at the festivals which are usually held in the dzongs (fortresses) or at monasteries.
 
Behind the scenes, the monks prepare themselves for weeks ahead of the festival, involved in deep prayer and meditation prior to the festival. The monks perform special masked dances that are inspirations of enlightened beings in history; and the Bhutanese believe that watching these mystical dances is essential to gain enlightenment.
 
 monks prepare themselves for weeks ahead of the festival
 
All Bhutanese try to attend a festival at least once in a lifetime, and for many, it is an important annual affair where they consider it a blessing to be able to watch the dances. Apart from the monks, community dancers also participate in the local festivals.
 
The tsechus are a rich form of the oral history tradition where the Bhutanese pass on values, mythology and spiritual beliefs through the dance dramas. Many of the tsechus culminate with a rare display of a giant silk applique thangkha (painting) depicting Guru Padmasambava or some other important Buddhist deity.
 
People’s deep faith and devotion make these festivals a special occasion. At the same time, it is also an opportunity to join hundreds, and even thousands, of Bhutanese in taking part in an important religious and social occasion that often exudes a carnival atmosphere.
 
bhutan festivals

Bhutan Festival by popularity

 
Paro and Thimphu Festivals are by far the most popular festivals in Bhutan. There are two main reasons why they are so popular. Firstly, they are located in the Western part of Bhutan, an hour drive away from the airport. So it is possible for you to do a four days visit just to attend the festival. If the festival is taking place in Eastern Bhutan, you would have to visit Bhutan for a minimum of 10 days. Secondly, Paro and Thimphu Festivals take place in spring and autumn respectively, 2 of the best seasons to visit Bhutan.
 
Three years ago, we would usually recommend travelers to books at least six months before their travel dates. With the growing number of hotels in Bhutan, we can usually accommodate travelers on last minute notice. However, do note that experienced guides are in high demand during this period. If you do have some flexibility with your travel schedule, we would recommend going for less popular festivals.
 

What if you can’t catch the festival?

Preparation for the festivals starts weeks before the festival itself. If you are in Bhutan but won’t be able to catch the festival, do visit the Dzong, and you may be able to catch the monks practicing and preparing the material for the festival. This is a great photo opportunity since the materials used for prayer are colourful. This visit can be a meaningful opportunity if you have caught the festival somewhere; you have the chance to see the faces behind the masks and spend time speaking to the monks on the origin and meaning of the festival.

 

 
 

SourceTourism Council of Bhutan




Name Town Start Date End Date
Lhuentse Tshechu Whole Bhutan Jan 04, 2019 Jan 07, 2019
Mongar Tshechu Whole Bhutan Jan 04, 2019 Dec 06, 2019
Trongsa Tshechu Trongsa Jan 04, 2019 Jan 07, 2019
Nabji Lhakhang Drup Whole Bhutan Jan 10, 2019 Jan 12, 2019
Punakha Drubchen Punakha Feb 12, 2019 Feb 14, 2019
Punakha Tshechu Punakha Feb 15, 2019 Feb 17, 2019
Tharpaling Thongdrol Punakha Feb 19, 2019
Zhemgang Tshechu Whole Bhutan Mar 14, 2019 Mar 17, 2019
Talo Tshechu Whole Bhutan Mar 14, 2019 Mar 16, 2019
Gomphukora Whole Bhutan Mar 14, 2019 Mar 16, 2019
Zhemgang Tshechu Zhemgang Mar 14, 2019 Mar 17, 2019
Gasa Tshechu Whole Bhutan Mar 14, 2019 Mar 16, 2019
Paro Tshechu Paro Mar 17, 2019 Mar 21, 2019
Chhorten Kora Paro Mar 21, 2019 Apr 05, 2019
Domkhar Tshechu Bumthang Apr 14, 2019 Apr 16, 2019
Ura Yakchoe Bumthang Apr 16, 2019 Apr 20, 2019
Rhododendron Festival Whole Bhutan Apr 19, 2019 Apr 21, 2019
Nimalung Tshechu Bumthang Jul 10, 2019 Jul 11, 2019
Kurjey Tshechu Bumthang Jul 11, 2019
Haa Summer Festival Haa Valley Jul 13, 2019 Jul 14, 2019
Mushroom Festival Haa Valley Aug 15, 2019 Aug 16, 2019
Masutaki Mushroom Festival Bumthang Aug 23, 2019 Aug 24, 2019
Tour of the Dragon (Bicycle Race) Bumthang Sep 07, 2019
Thimphu Drubchen Thimphu Oct 03, 2019
Wangdue Tshechu Wangdue Phodrang Oct 05, 2019 Oct 07, 2019
Thimphu Tshechu Thimphu Oct 07, 2019 Oct 09, 2019
Gangtey Tshechu Wangdue Phodrang Oct 10, 2019 Oct 13, 2019
Thangbi Mani Bumthang Oct 10, 2019 Oct 13, 2019
Jhomolhari Mountain Festival Thimphu Oct 14, 2019 Oct 15, 2019
Jakar Tshechu Bumthang Nov 05, 2019 Nov 09, 2019
Chhukha Tshechu Chukha Nov 06, 2019 Nov 08, 2019
Black Necked Crane Festival Gangtey Nov 11, 2019
Pemagatshel Tshechu Whole Bhutan Nov 11, 2019 Nov 13, 2019
Jambay Lhakhang Drup Bumthang Nov 13, 2019 Nov 16, 2019
Jambay Lhakhang Drup Bumthang Nov 13, 2019 Nov 16, 2019
Trashigang Tshechu Whole Bhutan Dec 05, 2019 Dec 07, 2019
Jambay Lhakhang Singye Cham Bumthang Dec 12, 2019
Nalakhar Tshechu Whole Bhutan Dec 12, 2019
Druk Wangyel Tshechu Thimphu Dec 13, 2019
Legend
Festival
Public Holiday
Exhibition
Film
Others

Planning to travel to Bhutan during a festival?

On popular dates of travel such as during festival time, flight tickets tend to get fully reserved 5 months prior. Due to limited flight and seats available, we recommend you to reserve your ticket as early as possible. You can reserve your ticket for free with us and plan your trip to Bhutan with a peace of mind knowing that you will have a spot on your flight to Bhutan.