The festival is held for duel reasons; to commemorate an establishment of Jambay Lhakhang (temple) in 7 th century and to honor Guru Rimpoche, a saint who introduced Tantric form of Buddhism in Bhutan . A variety of traditional and mask dances are performed and each dance bear significant meaning/importance.
This festival is one of the most important in Bhutan and its high light is the ‘Mewang” – the fire ceremony and the ” Tercham” – a religious dance. A fire dance is held in the evening to bless infertile women so that they may bear children.
The festival dances were composed mostly by Terton Pema Lingpa, the great treasure discoverer of the 15th century.
Festival Schedule :
First evening’s program begins around 07.00 pm, with the “Jinsi” the burning of the sacred fire.
Shana Cham with Ging Cham
Mewang (the sacred fire ceremony)
Begins around 9.30 in the morning with a “chipdrel” traditional reception.
The Astara (clown) welcomes the audience and the marchang ceremony.
Mask dances begin
Shinji Yab Yum
Peling Ging Sum – Driging, Juging, Ngaging
Lunch break at 01.00 pm. After lunch the dances resume:-
Jachung and Boechung dance
Atsara (clown) dance Dola Pangtoy
Shana Phurcham with Durda
Ging & Tsholing Cham (the dance of the sacred war between the Gods and the Demons)
Tsecho Gingcham (Tercham)
Damitse Ngacham (The famous drum beat dance originating from Dramitse)
Pholey Moley Cham
Dorling Ngacham (Tercham of Terchen Dorjilingpa)
Raksha Mangcham (this dance symbolizes Life after death, at the court of the Lord of the Dead.)
Ten Wang (Blessings from the sacred statue of Terton Dorjilingpa)