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Thimphu Tsechu Day 3

By Becky

We've been having computer and internet problems, so here (only a bit late!) is the description of the the last day of the Thimphu Festival, on Sept. 30. Since then, it's gotten much cooler, only a light jacket is needed mornings and evenings.

I was a bit better prepared for the last day of Tsechu, with a scarf for the heat and a seat two rows up, which turned out still not to be high enough to see above the people passing by. In the first dance, the monks did not wear masks, but crown-like headdresses. Their performance included dramatic high leaps I hadn’t seen in any other of the dances.

The second dance seemed to be a reprise of the Lords of the Cremation grounds; it was the first part of the dance The Judgement of the Dead, which continued in stages throughout the morning between the other dances. The skeletons entered carrying a black "body" between them which stayed in the center of the dance ground all morning.

The third major dance of the day started out looking quite a bit like the Dance of the Terrifying deities, but is called Ging and Tsholing. The fierce-looking protectors of religion (the Tsholing) first consecrate the dancing ground. Then they are chased away by the Ging, escorts of Guru Rinpoche, wearing yellow skirts and tall flags on their heads over fanged masks. They first come out of the crowd and periodically return to tap people on the head with their drumsticks. Children rush down into the aisles and into the front rows to be tapped. Men carry small children and even adults bow down to be tapped. This drives out impurities. I found this to be the most thrilling of all the dances, perhaps because the movements of the Ging awere not scripted as in all the other dances, and because of their dramatic spinning leaps.

Again the heat was too much for me, and I missed the afternoon and closing dance, the Eight Manifestations of the Guru Rinpoche.

Posted by rsherry 00:34 Archived in Bhutan Tagged events

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Michael, how hot is it there now? And how do the dancers manage?

by Jill Tao

Hi Jill,
Now, about a month from when the event occurred, the temperature is great! A light jacket is needed mornings and evenings, and the sky is beautifully clear.

-- Becky

by mgivel

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