Though it’s one of the smallest country of the world. But highly profound and rich in cultural diversity. Something that starts with birth, and even continues after death of the person. Cultural impacts are seen on various sectors of Bhutan as:
Birth of the child is the most exciting and joyous event for any family on earth. It’s a huge moment for celebration. But in Bhutan, guests and extended family are discouraged during first 3 days after birth. Purification rituals are performed after which everyone is welcomed. Also, the responsibility of giving a name to the child is usually entrusted to the head lama of the temple. While in some cases, child name is based on a day when he/she was born. Other various rituals are performed depending upon the written birth chart developed as per the date and the time of birth of a child.
Rituals and traditions differs depending upon the regions. In eastern Bhutan cross-cousin marriages were quite common few decades ago however nowadays individual choices are priorities with changing time. In the Western Bhutan, it was common place that the husband goes to live in his wife’s house after marriage while the practice in Eastern Bhutan is for the wife to move into the husband’s home. Divorce is also an accepted norm and carries no ignominy or disgrace within the country.
There are various traditions followed by people all around the world on different occasions. Likewise, in Bhutan death of the person is believed that death is a re- birth and journey to the next life. With the thought of ensuring the deceased one to pass the procedure safely and proper re-birth some rituals are followed. Days like 7th, 14th, 21st and 49th after the demise of the person are considered most important ones. On these days some rituals are performed and some prayer flags are also there in the name of the dead person.
Funeral practice differs between northern and southern Bhutanese. On the southern part – The dead ones are buried while northern people carry the dead one to the top of the mountains and devour to the vultures. This is also known as Sky burials. They believe the act of Devotion as generosity.
On the death anniversary, relatives and people from locality attend the ritual with alcohol rice and other items.
Bhutan, cultural diversity is much more enhanced by the festivals being celebrated in different part of the nation. Richness of the culture can be experienced with the variety of colorful religious occasions. Every village in Bhutan has the unique way of celebration. Annual Tshechu (A Religious Festival) is the popular one amongst all.
This festival take place at the local temples and monasteries. On this day, villagers and all the people get dressed beautifully on their best possible cloths. Various mask dance performance are conducted along with songs. This celebration continues for 3 days. Momos (Pork dumplings), traditional rice wine called Ara, meals of red rice, spicy pork etc are the kind of meals that’s prepared andd offred on this day. These highly spiritual celebrations provide the villagers a treat and refreshment from day to day lives. Bringing the close ones together for celebration with joy and delight.
Tshechus are important also because the festive is celebrated as important event in the life of Guru Rinpoche.
Some of the other festivals Celebrated all around Bhutan are:
- Lhuntse Tshechu
- Punakha Tshechu and Drubchen
- Merak Tshechu
- Monggar Tshechu
- Paro Tshechu
- Pema Gatshel Tshechu
- Thimphu Tshechu
- Trongsa Tshechu
- Rhododendron Festival etc.