Bhutanese Mask Dance Festival

Bhutanese Mask Dance Festival

Bhutanese Mask Dance Festival is a traditional festival of Bhutanese. This religious activities is one of many ways for them to acknowledge the spiritual world and pray for luck. The dance is usually performed by monks, whose costumes are colorful and carefully designed for the festival.

The Bhutanese Mask Dance Festival has it own story. Start from a great scholar named Padmasambhava, who visited Bhutan in the 9th century. People believe that he was the one who was able to convert opponents of Buddhism by carrying out certain rituals, reciting mantras and performing a dances to conquer local spirits and gods. He came to Bhutan to cure king Sindhu Raja – who was dying due to his serious illness. Padmasambhava performed some ritual dances to gain back the King’s heart. After being cured, the king started to spread out Buddhism as a return for the scholar’s kindness. That’s why these dances were passed through many generations to adore the glory of Padmasambhava.

The festival takes 4 days to perform. In these days, people flock to it to receive blessing and adore the cultural link between their world and spiritual world. The schedule of 4 days in festival consist of

Day 1: Dance of the Four Stags (Sha Tsam)

            Dance of the Three kinds of Ging (Pelage Gingsum)

            Dance of the Heroes (Pacham)

            Dance of the Stags and Hounds (Shawo Shachi)

            Dance with Guitar

Day 2 : The Black Hat Dance (Shana)

              Dance of the 21 black hats with drums  

             Dance of the Noblemen and the Ladies (Pholeg Moleg),

             Dance of the Drums from Dramitse (Dramitse Ngacham),

             Dance of the Noblemen and the Ladies (Pholeg Moleg) and

             Dance of the Stag and Hounds (Shawa Shachi)

Day 3:  Dance of the Lords of the Cremation Grounds (Durdag)

              Dance of the Terrifying Deities (Tungam)

              Dance of the Rakshas and the Judgement of the Dead

Day 4:  Dance of Tamzhing Monesery in Jakar

            Dance of the Lords of the Cremation grounds (the same dance as day 3),

            Dance of the Ging and Tsoling (Ging Dang Tsoling)

            Dance of the Eight Manifestations of Padmasambhava 

Maske dance

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