Friendly Planet Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Festivals’

Bhutan’s Fascinating Festivals

Landlocked between India to the South and China to the North, this small Asian country has a cultural presence much larger than the country itself. Staying completely independent over its history, the Bhutanese people have a strong devotion to their faith, with almost 75% of its population practicing Buddhism. To represent and revel in this devotion to their beliefs, locals of Bhutan participate in many festivals—all throughout the year—to flaunt their bright and vivacious values. Every one of the departures of our Beautiful Bhutan small group tour is scheduled around a real Bhutanese festival or authentic festival performance. So check out some highlights below from the festivals we visit in one of the world’s happiest countries, then take the road less traveled and experience Beautiful Bhutan for yourself!

Bright masks accompany almost every Bhutanese festival! © Arian Zwegers/Flickr

What are Teschu festivals?

All the festivals we have on our departures are called Tsechu festival (Tse-Date Chu–Ten). These festivals are celebrated to commemorate the great deeds of 8th century Tantric master Guru Padmasambhava who is credited in spreading of Mahayana Buddhism in the entire Himalayan region. So it is commemorated on the 10th day of every month (according to the lunar calendar) in different states.

These Tsechu festivals are dominated by ancient old religious Mask Dances that are performed by both monks and lay person in brilliant costumes re-enacting the legendary events, accompanied by blaring horns, booming drums, and clashing cymbals as they whirl and leap around the ancient old courtyard of a Dzong (Fortress) or in a small temple at a village. Crowds gather in their finest hand woven dress, brightly patterned for which Bhutan is renowned, creating an intensely colorful and exciting atmosphere that had remained unchanged in its traditional purity for centuries. Locals believe that by dressing in their finest is another form of offering that could bring them blessings, give them an opportunity to please the deities which in return bring them merit, luck, prosperity and also an occasion to see people and to be seen. The dance itself is believed to be the representation of the deities that are encountered during the intermediate period of death and rebirth.

(more…)

Beautiful Bhutan – Festivals Tour

In yesterday’s post, I started to tell you a little bit about the untouched beauty and fascinating culture of the Kingdom of Bhutan.
FP_Himalayans.jpgBhutan is a destination that even the most experienced travelers consider a privilege to visit. Perched high atop the mighty Himalayan range, the Kingdom of Bhutan has defied globalization and chosen to remain a hidden paradise. As I mentioned, even though it consistently ranks as one of the world’s top destinations, its remote location and strong preservation efforts make it accessible to only a fortunate few, and Friendly Planet Travel is honored to be included.
Our Beautiful Bhutan program makes it possible for our travelers to not only visit this exotic land, but also immerse themselves in its rich cultural traditions. Throughout the 18-day tour, Friendly Planeteers experience the enchantment of Bhutan’s ancient fortresses, monasteries, and temples; the richness of its artisan traditions; and the beauty of its pristine natural landscape as you traverse the country’s mountainous terrain.
FP_Bhutan.jpgOur unique program gives travelers plenty of time to interact with the friendly people of Bhutan, including a very special opportunity to join hundreds of Bhutanese in their celebrations of the spiritual festivals of Ura (April departure), Nimalung (June departure), Tamshing (September departure), Jambay Lhakhang (October departure), and Trongsa (December departure).
Vacationers gain an enlightened understanding of the country’s national philosophy of Gross National Happiness. But be sure to reserve your space quickly, as this once-in-a-lifetime trip is sure to sell out quickly! There are four 2009 departures left, which are listed below. For more information, be sure to have a look at our Web site.

Remaining 2009 departures:
June 23 – July 10
Sept. 18 – Oct. 5
Oct. 26 – Nov. 12
Dec. 17 – Jan. 3