Bhutan Festivals Calendar 2020

Posted on 10/September/2019

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
Punakha Drubchen Punakha Mar 02, 2020 Mar 04, 2020
Punakha Tshechu Punakha Mar 05, 2020 Mar 07, 2020
Tharpaling Thongdrol Bumthang Mar 09, 2020
Gasa Tshechu Gasa Apr 01, 2020 Apr 03, 2020
Zhemgang Tshechu Zhemgang Apr 01, 2020 Apr 03, 2020
Talo Tshechu Punakha Apr 01, 2020 Apr 03, 2020
Gomphukora Trashigang Apr 01, 2020 Apr 03, 2020
Paro Tshechu Paro Apr 04, 2020 Apr 08, 2020
Chhorten Kora Trashi Yangtse Apr 08, 2020 Apr 22, 2020
Domkhar Tshechu Bumthang May 03, 2020 May 05, 2020
Ura Yakchoe Bumthang May 04, 2020 May 08, 2020
Nimalung Tshechu Bumthang Jun 30, 2020 Jul 01, 2020
Kurjey Tshechu Bumthang Jun 30, 2020
Tour of the Dragon Bumthang Sep 05, 2020
Thimphu Drubchen Thimphu Sep 22, 2020
Wangdue Tshechu Wangdue Phodrang Sep 24, 2020 Sep 26, 2020
Tamshing Phala Chhoepa Bumthang Sep 26, 2020 Sep 28, 2020
Thimphu Tshechu Thimphu Sep 26, 2020 Sep 28, 2020
Gangtey Tshechu Wangdue Phodrang Sep 28, 2020 Oct 01, 2020
Thangbi Mani Bumthang Sep 29, 2020 Oct 02, 2020
Jakar Tshechu Bumthang Oct 23, 2020 Oct 27, 2020
Chhukha Tshechu Chukha Oct 24, 2020 Oct 26, 2020
Dechenphu Tshechu Thimphu Oct 26, 2020
Jambay Lhakhang Drup Bumthang Oct 31, 2020 Nov 03, 2020
Prakhar Duchhoed Bumthang Nov 01, 2020 Nov 03, 2020
Black Necked Crane Festival Wangdue Phodrang Nov 11, 2020
Mongar Tshechu Mongar Nov 21, 2020 Nov 24, 2020
Pemagatshel Tshechu Pemagatshel Nov 21, 2020 Nov 24, 2020
Trashigang Tshechu Trashigang Nov 22, 2020 Nov 25, 2020
Nalakhar Tshechu Bumthang Nov 30, 2020 Dec 02, 2020
Jambay Lhakhang Singye Cham Bumthang Nov 30, 2020
Trongsa Tshechu Trongsa Dec 10, 2020 Dec 13, 2020
Druk Wangyel Tshechu Thimphu Dec 13, 2020
Lhuentse Tshechu Lhuentse Dec 21, 2020 Dec 24, 2020
Nabji Lhakhang Drup Trongsa Dec 29, 2020 Dec 31, 2020
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.


 

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