Perceptions and Traditional Festival
A hidden paradise and the sanctified land on the earth- Bhutan a smallest kingdom lies between the Himalayan boarder of two giants China and India. The land graced by great Buddhist saints namely Sangay (Buddha), Guru Rinpoche, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namghyel and indeed the superior Monarchs of
Wangchuck Dynasty introduced and reformed many ceremonial events that are still
prevailing today as a unique backbone of the nation. The existing religious
events (festivals) are performed yearly in different part of the nation to commemorate
the deeds of Guru Rinpoche the eight century tantric master and Pema Lingpa who
are the main composer and choreographer of masked dances (cham). It is well
known for its glorious significances that flourishes amongst every devotees
purifying their non-virtuous believes. For instance the thongdrel (large
embroidered Buddhist scroll) unfurled in every last day of the tshechu(festival) liberate misfortunes
on sight. Moreover these enchanting age-old Bhutanese cultures and tradition,
supports the root of native Buddhist art and it can be a showcase to outside
world despite it also provides wonderful and perfect holiday destination to
many ambitious foreigners who wish to visit the country. Besides its
significant existence, Bhutanese today perceives differently showing less
respect and interest to such magnificent event mainly due to the evolving
modern trend in terms of entertainment, worship, and people usually get to see
live telecast of such events on television.
|(source Bhutan Cultural Tours)|
Festival is one important event marked in the history of Bhutan for decades, which is the perfect moment when all the family members, relatives and friends gather for the celebration. People opt to dress in their best attires with jewelries ornamenting them for that particular event. They enjoy traditional dishes along with locally brewed wines while in the same time they witnesses various masked dances and folk dances sparing their time entirely in the courtyard despite scorching sun or pelting rain. This indicates that the Bhutanese are so respectful towards the ancient tradition. Bhutanese in the past used to prepare in advance for such religious occasion with great enthusiasm. However those feeling of delightfulness is of less priority these days especially due to changing world and Bhutanese today mostly prefer not to attend such festival as the relatives and friends can be met easily through social networking sites such as Facebook, twitter and Skype. Although people aren’t completely neglecting such occasion of celebrating festivals yet they attend only for the sake of attending. Only few out of thousand understands the value and significance behind those festivals and offer prayers to receive blessings. In contrast majority of the Bhutanese will have limited ideas about festival, whereby they simply ignore and refuse to learn as well, though they make themselves present during the time of celebration.
On the other way, the modernization facilitates people with utmost comfort to the extent of serving easy access to festivals despite festivals might be held hundreds of miles away. For example the popular Thimphu and Paro tshechu (local festival) will be seen live on television throughout the nation. In addition it is believed to have equal and same gains of empowerment even if festivals are viewed through television screen without having to make physical presence. With such facilities people adopts new fashion of celebrating festivals sitting on sofa with all those new brand wines and snacks. Meanwhile one can easily observe a distinction between the mode of celebration in the past and of course in the present days. To reflect back, people in the olden days spent miles walking to attend such auspicious event. Every one volitionally go and witnesses such spiritual events to renew oneself and to get cleansed of all the accumulated sins. It is considered that different substantial masked dances are supposed to dramatize the real scenario of samsara believing to exist according to the Buddha’s dharma. Likewise the antique traditions and customs of Bhutan is now facing new phase of change with all the modern intuition impacting the overall views of Bhutanese society.
|(source Bhutan tourism)|
Furthermore festivals are now mainly meant a best time for business to run lucratively. Festivals are usually characterized by hustle and bustle crowd where people go out not to attend the real charm of festivals rather they will be engaged in buying and shopping items which are available at cheaper rates. Thus such religious events are now getting transformed into ‘fair’ where business is of prioritized than the actual festival. In a way only a set of practitioner are seen today who are actually following the footsteps of fore fathers in preserving the ancient festivals of Bhutan. In line, fair (mela) is being organized outside every dzongs (fortress) where festivals are held. Local shopkeepers and businessmen from outside would install sales, restaurants and small shops with varieties of games and foreign items. People look forward to procure those foreign goods mean while the restaurants serves best dishes other than the traditional dishes (ema dhatse, red rice and sha kam paa). Therefore today the traditional festivals are celebrated in more advanced and modern way as people no more want to stay in the medieval period.
Modernization has been a boon to darkness, dragging Bhutan to begin the dawn of new era. Accordingly Bhutanese also follow the aspects of modern trends in the pursuit of achieving modern goals. Although Bhutan remained as an isolated kingdom for centuries renowned for its rich cultural diversity but now it has to run along with the changing times. This however addresses the issue of changing perception of Bhutanese people toward traditional festival. Nevertheless the government shall work toward banning the new trend of establishing ‘fair’ in places where religious events are held that will have an indefinite support in enhancing and maintaining the pure spirit of tradition without any alteration. Finally it would also sound to have maintained the diverse culture, only if the native of Bhutan-the Bhutanese could show their respect towards such festivals in the first place. Therefore the deteriorating values of the ancient festival shall revive through magnanimity of all the Bhutanese to once again glimpse on the past.