Thimphu Tshechu (DAY 1) 

The Dance of the Four Stag (Shacham)

This shows how Guru Rimpoche subdued the God of the Wind, who created much unhappiness in this world and rode the stag which was the god’s mount. The dancers in the role of stags wear yellow knee-length skirts and masks of horned deer.

Dance of the Three Kinds of Ging (Pelage Gingsum)

This is the visual representation of Zangtho Peleri, the heavenly paradise of Guru Rimpoche, as seen by Pema Lingpa. The dancers show how to subdue the demons that are creating obstacles to religion. Although the demons are fleeing throughout the three worlds, the Ging (beings that are emanations of Guru Rimpoche) with the sticks can find them , thanks to their knowledge. They catch them with the hook of compassion, beat them with the stick of wisdom and tie them with the noose of compassion.

The Lords of the cremation grounds bring a box that contains the mind and the body of these demons. Then the Ging with the swords purify the atmosphere from evil deeds that are caused by the demons. After the demons have been vanquished, the Ging with the drums dance with happiness. For the dance with the sticks the Ging wear animal masks, and for the dance with the swords and the drums, they wear terrifying masks.

Dance of the Heroes (Pacham)

When Pema Lingpa arrived at Zangtho Pelri, he saw Guru Rimpoche sitting among his assistants in the centre of a limitless mandala (mystic geocentric figure) which was made of lines of rainbow beams. This dance is to lead the believers of the human world into the presence of Guru Rimpoche. The dancers wear yellow skirts and golden crowns without a mask. They carry a small bell(dri-lbu) and a small drum (damaru).

Dance of the Stag and the Hounds (Shawo Shachi)

This dance represents the conversion of Buddhism of the hunter Gonpo Dorji by the Saint Milarepa. It is performed like a play in two parts. The first part takes place the first day and  the second part is on the second day of the Thimphu festival. The first part is quite comical; the hunter’s servant appears and jokes with the clowns. Then comes the hunter, crowned with leaves, carrying a bow and arrows and accompanied by his tow dog. The servant jokes very irreverently with his master who, before going hunting, must perform some good-luck rituals. The priest who is called, performs the ritual in ways contrary to the Buddhist tradition, while the atsaras (clowns) and the servant go on with their jokes.

Dance with Guitar (Dranyeo Cham)

This is a cheerful dance to celebrate the diffusion of Drukpa lineage in Bhutan by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The dancers carry swords and are dressed in a circular headdress and heavy woolen clothes with felt boots, a long black skirt, yellow shirt and brown coat. One dancer carries a guitar called a dranyen.