Thimphu Drubchen in Bhutan in 2023

Thimphu Drubchen in Bhutan in 2023
Prayer wheels, Clocktower Square, Thimphu Image by juandazeng , via Flickr
  How long until Thimphu Drubchen?
Thimphu Drubchen
  Dates of Thimphu Drubchen in Bhutan
2024 Thimphu Mon, Sep 9 Regional Holiday
2023 Thimphu Wed, Sep 20 Regional Holiday
2022 Thimphu Sat, Oct 1 Regional Holiday
2021 Thimphu Sat, Sep 11 Regional Holiday
2020 Thimphu Wed, Sep 23 Regional Holiday

Celebrated three days before Thimphu Tshechu, this festival dates back to the early 18th century.

When is Thimphu Drubchen?

Thimpu Drubchen is a public holiday in Thimpu, Bhutan. Tshechu are annual religious Bhutanese festivals held in each district of Bhutan on the 10th day of a lunar month.

The Tshechu for Bhutan's capital, Thimpu, is an important three-day festival and it is preceded by Thimpu Drubchen, which takes place three days prior to Tshechu.

Traditions of Thimphu Drubchen

The day-long festival of Thimphu Drubchen (popularly known as Thimphu Dromchoe) dates back to the early 18th century. It was first introduced by Kuenga Gyeltshen in 1710, who was the first reincarnation of Jampel Dorji, son of Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyel. 

Taking place at Thimphu Tashichhodzong, a Buddhist monastery and the seat of the government since 1952, the Drubchen showcases the sacred mask dances dedicated to the chief protective deity of Bhutan, Palden Lhamo. Legend has it, that the deity Pelden Lhamo appeared before Kuenga Gyeltshen and performed the dances while he was in meditation. Based on these dances, Kuenga Gyaltshen initiated the Drubchen ceremony.

The folk dances also bless onlookers, teach them the Buddhist dharma, protect them from misfortune and exorcise all evil. It is believed that merit is gained by attending these festivals. The dances invoke the deities to wipe out misfortunes, increase good luck and grant personal wishes.

While tourists are now allowed to attend the Drubchen, they need to pay for tickets and must be accompanied by a local. Photography may be prohibited during the Drubchen.

Apart from its religious aspects, the festival is an opportunity for an annual social gathering where people dress in their finest clothing and jewellery.

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