Bhutan Festivals Calendar 2021

Posted on 10/January/2020

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 Feb 19, 2021 Feb 21, 2021
Punakha Tshechu Punakha Feb 22, 2021 Feb 24, 2021
Tharpaling Thongdrol Bumthang Feb 27, 2021
Talo Tshechu Punakha Mar 21, 2021 Mar 23, 2021
Zhemgang Tshechu Zhemgang Mar 21, 2021 Mar 23, 2021
Gomphukora Trashigang Mar 21, 2021 Mar 23, 2021
Gasa Tshechu Gasa Mar 21, 2021 Mar 23, 2021
Paro Tshechu Paro Mar 21, 2021 Mar 23, 2021
Chhorten Kora Trashi Yangtse Mar 28, 2021 Apr 11, 2021
Rhododendron Festival Thimphu Apr 16, 2021 Apr 18, 2021
Domkhar Tshechu Bumthang Apr 22, 2021 Apr 24, 2021
Ura Yakchoe Bumthang Apr 25, 2021 Apr 27, 2021
Nimalung Tshechu Bumthang Jun 18, 2021 Jun 20, 2021
Kurjey Tshechu Bumthang Jun 20, 2021
Haa Summer Festival Haa Valley Jul 10, 2021 Jul 11, 2021
Mushroom Festival Thimphu Aug 15, 2021 Aug 16, 2021
Tour of the Dragon (Bicycle Race) Bumthang Sep 04, 2021
Thimphu Drubchen Thimphu Sep 12, 2021
Wangdue Tshechu Wangdue Phodrang Sep 14, 2021 Sep 16, 2021
Tamshing Phala Chhoepa Bumthang Sep 16, 2021 Sep 18, 2021
Thimphu Tshechu Thimphu Sep 16, 2021 Sep 20, 2021
Thangbi Mani Bumthang Sep 18, 2021 Sep 21, 2021
Gangtey Tshechu Gangtey Sep 18, 2021 Sep 20, 2021
Chhukha Tshechu Chukha Oct 13, 2021 Oct 15, 2021
Jakar Tshechu Bumthang Oct 13, 2021 Oct 15, 2021
Jhomolhari Mountain Festival Thimphu Oct 14, 2021 Oct 15, 2021
Dechenphu Tshechu Thimphu Oct 15, 2021
Jambay Lhakhang Drup Bumthang Oct 20, 2021 Oct 22, 2021
Prakhar Duchhoed Bumthang Oct 21, 2021 Oct 23, 2021
Royal Highland Festival Gasa Oct 23, 2021 Oct 24, 2021
Bhutan Bird Festival Zhemgang Nov 11, 2021 Nov 13, 2021
Black Necked Crane Festival Wangdue Phodrang Nov 11, 2021
Mongar Tshechu Mongar Nov 12, 2021 Nov 14, 2021
Trashigang Tshechu Trashigang Nov 12, 2021 Nov 14, 2021
Pemagatshel Tshechu Pemagatshel Nov 12, 2021 Nov 14, 2021
Nalakhar Tshechu Bumthang Nov 19, 2021 Nov 21, 2021
Jambay Lhakhang Singye Cham Bumthang Nov 19, 2021
Trongsa Tshechu Trongsa Dec 11, 2021 Dec 13, 2021
Lhuentse Tshechu Lhuentse Dec 11, 2021 Dec 13, 2021
Druk Wangyel Tshechu Thimphu Dec 13, 2021
Samdrupjongkhar Tshechu Samdrup Jongkhar Dec 16, 2021 Dec 18, 2021
Nabji Lhakhang Drub Trongsa Dec 18, 2021 Dec 20, 2021
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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