Phyang Tsedup Festival celebrated
Stanzin Angmo, Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Phyang: The 28th and 29th day of the fifth month, according to the Tibetan calendar, is celebrated as the Phyang Tsedup Festival. The two day festival was celebrated on 6th and 7th July. The festival is a grand ceremony in which monks perform special prayers and Chhams (masked dance) robed in colourful brocade. Large number of locals as well as tourists came to witness the celebration.
Phyang Tsedup Festival is celebrated every year around the same month. ‘Tsedup’ literally mean to intensify/better the life force; the festival was started during the reign of King Tashi Namgyal (1555-1575) and as the name of the festival ‘Tsedup’ suggests it was basically a prayer for the long and blessed life of the King. During the two day festival, 50 feet ‘Thanka’ (painting) of Skyoba Jiksten Gonbo the founder of Digung monastic order is also exhibited.
“The history of Chhams(mask dance) dates back to 7th to 8th century in Tibet which was started by Guru Rinpoche (Padma Sambhava) and is has been spreading since then. It’s been around 400 years since Chhams is being performed in Phyang,” said Khanpo Konchok Namdak. Talking about the importance of Chhams he said, “To the people it might seem just as a performance by monks with masks but it has several deeper meanings. The monks with masks depicts the gods and goddesses, who through their symbolic dance is a way to show people a path towards enlightenment, especially those who are already close to achieving it. Another important symbol of the mask dance is to prepare the people through ‘Pardo’ (time after death), during which they will be confronting these gods and goddesses. Chams is also performed so that the land at which it is being performed would become pious and blessed.”
The Chams also includes a dance by Aphi-Maymay (Grandmother and grandfather). The second day also has Chams and Storma (an officering to gods and goddesses) which will conclude the festival.