The history of the Kingdom of Bhutan is shaped by religion and religion continues to play an important role in the lives of the god fearing and spiritual people. Religious festivals are the real exhibits of Bhutanese culture which are celebrated throughout the country and occurring in a host of diverse forms, depending upon the scale, the nature of the ceremonies performed or the particular deity being revered.

The best known being Tshechus, a festival to honor Guru Rinpoche which is celebrated annually in or around all the monasteries and the great ‘Dzongs’ – fortress, attracting both foreign visitors and a large number of people alike from surrounding districts. The festival lasts for several days with the center focus being the series of prayers and religious dances. These dances, made especially striking by the spectacular costumes of the dancers – bright silks and rich brocade, orange hats or extraordinary masks- may either depict morality tales, invoke protection from demonic spirits or proclaim Buddhist victories and the glory of remarkable saints. The festival is also a social gathering for the Bhutanese families.

Besides Tshechus many other colorful festivals are celebrated in Punakha when the weather will already be warm during early spring, as well as Wangdi festival in Autumn and Trongsa festival during the middle of winter. Primarily the festivities consist of masked dances, chanting, blessing or reading religious texts aloud and last two or three days.

The Punakha Dromchoe, which is celebrated either before or after the Tsechu, is performed to commemorate victory over the Tibetans when they invaded in the 17th century.

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