cultureCustoms and traditions differ from one part of the country to another. Bhutan’s rich culture is still vibrant and alive. Its culture is deeply rooted in Vajrayana Buddhism, although some section of the population follows Hinduism which has its distinct culture. A prominent factor in a Bhutanese life is religion. Adding colour to the lives of the Bhutanese are religious festivals celebrated with much pomp and joy. Food plays an important role in the celebration of these festivals.
Bhutan’s landscape is dotted with choetens, temples, monasteries, dzongs and prayer flags. Hundreds of monks reside in these temples and monasteries, and they keep Bhutan’s religious, cultural and spiritual values alive. These religious centres are also the sites for various religious and cultural festivals, including tshechus. Tshechus are highly symbolic and representative of Bhutan’s unique religious and cultural heritage and values. Tshechus, meaning the “tenth day”, are conducted annually in almost all the monasteries, dzongs and temples across the country. A variety of mask dances, folk dances, and dance dramas are staged during these festivals.
Attending a tshechu is believed to cleanse one’s negative karma. These festivals are a medium of Buddhist teaching. But it also serves as a platform for social gathering. Locals are seen in their finest clothes and jewellery singing, dancing, merrymaking, and feasting. For tourists, it is an opportunity to appreciate the essence of Bhutanese culture and spiritual traditions.
Bhutan is home to a unique intangible traditional culture observed and understood in a set of values. Having remained secluded for centuries, the Bhutanese life has come to be defined and shaped by values that are nonexistent or increasingly being lost in the developed world.
The reverence for life, the respect for the environment, and the belief in the interdependence of the nature of things largely define the Bhutanese way of life. Therefore, foreigners find Bhutan and the Bhutanese refreshingly different in terms of cultural, religious, and environmental values and way of life.
The forest coverage and pristine environment is a testimony to Bhutanese belief in interdependence and coexistence with the nature and the environment. The Bhutanese believe that is nature is upset, humans cannot live a happy life.