The festivals of Bhutan stem from a wondrous mixture of the country's unique geography, it's Buddhist heritage, and the cultural influence of neighboring India and China. All this results in a colorful and vibrant culture and festivals that celebrate the natural treasures of Bhutan's mountains, such as the Matsutake Mushroom Festival, just as there are those aimed to honor ancient Buddhist saints, like the Paro Tsechu Festival.
The Bhutanese people will flock to festivals wearing beautiful and brightly colored traditional Ghos (for men) and Kiras (for women), Bhutan’s national clothing, in order to get their blessings from significant Buddhist figures.
Don't hesitate to contact us for more information on the dates and venues of Bhutanese festivals.
Bhutanese Festival Calendar
Don't leave your festival attendance to chance,
plan ahead with this calendar!
The festivals themselves consist of dances and story plays enacted by the higher ranking monks, retelling the stories of Guru Rimpoche and other saints, including Prince Siddhartha, the First Buddha, amongst many other myths and legends, as well as expanding on Buddhist philosophies, such as the relationship between karma and reincarnation, the existence of suffering in life, and the importance of harmony with the world and all living beings. Tsechu Festivals occur in every district of Bhutan and are held on the tenth day of a month of the Tibetan lunar calendar.
In the 8th century, a Buddhist saint known as Guru Rimpoche traveled from India to Tibet and neighboring Himalayan countries of the time, Bhutan included, and introduced Buddhism to the Bhutanese people.
Featuring dances by monks adorned in amazing masks and costumes, the festival offers a glimpse in the ancient living culture of Bhutan, with a rare opportunity to witness the unfurling of the silk “Thangka” - a religious picture scroll and one of the most sacred blessings in the whole of Bhutan, exhibited only for a few hours at daybreak on the final day of the festival, of which the mere sight grants 'spiritual liberation'.
Popular Bhutanese Festivals
There are a number of other famous festivals in Bhutan.These include the Rhododendron flower festival, the Bhutan international marathon which always attracts foreigners from all corners of the globe, the High Lander festival consisting of a hike at 5,000 meters of altitude, or even still, the Jomolhari Mountain Festival, at the base of the mountain of the same name, for a two day festival celebrating Bhutan’s culture and regional wildlife.
Yet another one of the popular festivals in Bhutan is The Matsutake Mushroom festival. These Matsutake mushrooms are prized by gourmets in Japan and all over the world. Taking place only once a year when the season allows it, it is an opportunity to sample some truly delicious local cuisine and cultivate a deeper insight into the rural lifestyle of the Bhutan people.
Refer to the calendar above to book your trip on the dates that correspond with the festivals you are most interested in.
We would like to remind guests to dress appropriately when attending Buddhist festivals. Although formal attire is not required, non-revealing clothes are preferred, with the legs and shoulders being concealed.
There are many more festivals to choose from, contact us and we'll help you select the best one for you!