Here now and now here or nowhere

The title of this blog comes from a play on words that "now here" is also the same letters as "nowhere" just with a space added in the middle. I am always trying to get better at being in the here and now, and I've always been a bit of a joker so that is why I chose this name.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Paro Tsechu

Tsechu (literally "day ten") are annual religious Bhutanese festivals held in each district or dzongkhag of Bhutan on the tenth day of a month of the lunar Tibetan calendar. Tsechus are religious festivals of Drukpa Buddhism. The Thimphu tsechu and tha Paro tsechu are among the biggest of the tsechus in terms of participation and audience. Tsechus are large social gatherings, which perform the function of social bonding among people of remote and spread-out villages. The last day of the four day festival also marks the unfurling of the Thongdrel, a very large scroll painting or thangka, which is unfurled with intense religious fervor, early in the morning. This painting measuring 30 metres (98 ft)×45 metres (148 ft) has the images of Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) at the centre flanked by his two consorts and also his eight incarnations. Devotees who gather to witness this occasion offer obeisance in front of the Thongdrel seeking blessings. Folk dances are performed on the occasion. Before sunrise, the painting is rolled up and kept in the Dzong, untouched from any sunlight,  before it is to be displayed again one year later.

People will come in their very best clothes for these events.  You'll see amazing Kira's (the woman's dresses or skirts) with such intricate handmade details and stitchings that just blow you away. Sadly, I didn't take any pictures of them, though I wish I had for reference.

The last photos are of the 4th day. We woke at 2:30am to head down to watch them hoist the Thongdrel. It was beautiful to be there. Sadly, as I'm getting old, I found that it took me a few days to get back to my regular sleep schedule and to stop being so tired.

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