There are many religious festivals. The best known festivals are the Tsechus which are held at different times of the year in different locations. Tsechus are celebrated for three to five days with both monks and laymen taking part in the ritual mask dances.
Bhutan is a country of festivals. The most important are the religious dance festivals, known as Tsechus, which are held in different districts, at specific times during the year. It is celebrated for three to five days. These festivals are held in the honor of Guru Rinpoche (the saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan and the Himalayan world) to commemorate his great deeds. Rare dances and sword dances are performed in the courtyards and temples of the Dzongs. The origin of most of the dances can be traced beyond the middle Ages and are only performed once or twice a year. Each dance has its own significance and is performed by monks and villagers dressed in bright costumes. Many visitors come to Bhutan to witness these festivals held annually throughout the country. The most popular for tourists are those held in Paro during spring, Thimphu and Bumthang in autumn.
The Tshechus are important religious festivals and it is believed that by attending them one gains merits and blessings. They are not somber formal religious affairs, but occasions to get together, renew acquaintances and make merry. The atsara (traditional clowns of the Tshechu) add color and merriment to the festival by their bawdy antics.