English | Dzongkha Friday, October 30, 2020

Tokari Tshechu losing its appeal

Pema Namgay, Kanglung
Jun 23, 2014

TokariFestival-RangzhikharResidents of Rangzhikhar, under Samkhar Gewog in Trashigang, organise a ritual for the well-being of women, every year. Locally known as Tokari Tshechu, the ritual is organised during the night coinciding with Lord Buddha’s Parinirvana.

Laymen from the monastic institutions perform rituals to appease the local deities. The ritual lasts several hours through the night. The tradition is said to be over five-generation old.

“Lopen Khekey started the Tshechu to protect women from misfortune. He subdued all the evil spirits and constructed a chorten here,” said Rangzhikhar Tshogpa, Naku.

The highlight of the festival is the offerings people make. Villagers prepare a snack in a shape resembling a woman’s genitalia.

While the laymen perform rituals and villagers make offering, a group of men prepares to steal the snacks. While it has no specific meaning, the stealing act is just for fun.

“Young people used to steal the Tokari Tsho using a stick. The culture is disappearing slowly but we are trying to preserve it and keep it alive as much as possible,” said a Rangzhikhar Resident, Tshering Dorji.

The villagers then, usher a descendent of Rangzhikhar Khoche or local chieftain, to a place where a tree once stood. It is believed that the Khoche family established the current Rangzhikhar village. The local chieftain is believed to have planted a tree upside down.

The ritual, although organised every year has now lost its charm, according to the villagers. The number of people attending the ritual has also decreased in recent years.

But if not organised, villagers’ fear the wrath of local deities. They believe that natural calamities will strike their village and misfortunes would befall on their women.

The ritual concludes by passing on the responsibility to organise the ritual to fellow villagers next year. A garland of snacks is present to those who will organise the ritual in the coming year. On rotational basis, 10 households take the responsibility of organising the ritual every year.

The ritual concludes at around 3am. A similar ritual for men is also organised every year, in the 10th month of the Bhutanese calendar.

2 Comments for “Tokari Tshechu losing its appeal”

  1. jigme thinley

    my name is jigme thinley an i m frm rangzhikhr,i like these becoz every year we do these ritual for the protection of the women,an its belived that once all the women are not able to stain their life,after subdued all the evil,only den the womem are alived, an a garland of snacks is present to those who will organised the rituals in comming years. an lastly just for fun a group of young men prepared to steal snacks during the rituals…….

  2. sonam

    Can the reporter (reference to the video) not say ‘private part’ but use appropriate and educated word, could even say ‘genitals or vagina

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