If, instead no dish has been prepared the dead leave accompanied by heavy sighing
They are integral part of the cultural and spiritual life of the Bhutanese people. We wanted to witness this rich tradition for ourselves and planned our trip around a festival season. It so happened that these two extra festivals were taking place as were were visiting those places.
We felt so lucky to receive blessings three times! They were choreographed by the great Buddhist masters and saints themselves to convey spiritual messages to the people. They mimic the dances and joke with or annoy the audience.
They also help to keep order. One of the atsaras liked bothering the audience. He asked money from the audience and then gave them blessings by patting their heads with a wooden phallus.
For more about the significance of phallus symbol in Bhutan, see this post.
The performance extended to the roof of one of the buildings. The audience looked very engaged and amused. Bhutanese believe that during the mask dances, the deities of the tantric teachings are invoked and through their power and blessings, misfortunes are removed and sins are purified.
They also believed to subdue evil spirits that prevent the Buddhist teaching from flourishing, thus, bringing joy and happiness to all sentient beings. Young monks intently watching the dance drama.
They were probably wishing to someday perform the dances themselves. In between mask dances, this group of women perform folk dances and songs. Audience of all ages anxiously awaiting the next dance during a break.
Dancers represent Tantrists with supernatural powers. They are said to drive out evil spirits and purify the grounds with their footsteps. This adorable old man who was siting next to us seemed fascinated with our cameras. He asked if he could try them. He looked like he was having fun.DreamTrips | DreamTrips is the “World’s Leading Travel Club” offering customized itineraries and bucket-list excursions to extraordinary destinations.
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