Bhutanese people celebrate different festivals like the Bhutanese New Year called ‘losar’ and other seasonal festivals like the summer solstice. But the most common festival is known as Tshechu. Tshechus are held in several parts of Bhutan as a tribute to Guru (also referred to as Guru Rimpoche) – ‘one who was born from lotus flower’ and introduced the Nyingma school of Buddhism into Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan in 8th century.
Each 10th day of the lunar calendar is said to commemorate a special event in the life of Padmasambhava; and some of these are dramatized in the context of a religious festival or the Tshechu. Costumes and mask dances typically based on incidents from the life of the 9th century Nyingmapa teacher Padmasambhava and other saints. During Tshechus, the dances are performed by monks as well as laymen wearing ornate costumes and masks; the each aspect dance has a symbolic meaning. It is widely believed that one gains merit by attending any of these festivals. Some of the festivals are observed to purify the souls and ward off evil spirit, not necessarily with religious mask dance.
It is in fact a religious festival, and is celebrated all over Bhutan, usually after the end of the harvest season. The dates and duration of the festivals vary from one district to another but they always take place on or around the 10th day of the month according to the Bhutanese calendar.
The Thimphu Tshechu and the Paro tshechu are among the biggest of the tshechus in terms of participation and audience. Tshechus are an yearly large social gathering, where the Bhutanese people, dressed in all their finery, come together to rejoice, taking a break from their everyday life, which also perform the function of social bonding among people of remote and spread-out villages.