Entry Title: "Tsechu"
Name: Raffaele Tuzio , Italy
Category and Expertise: Photo Essay and Feature Story|General News|Culture|Travel/Tourism, Non-Professional
Entry Description: In the valleys of the remote Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan every year in different parts of the country there are events and popular religious gatherings called Tsechu. These events hail back to the encounter between Buddhist culture from India and shamanism of Tibetan origin which has found a particular synthesis in this location. Mystic Buddhism integrated with the shamanic practice of divination with which the ancient religions of these valleys contrasted the adverse forces of nature. A central event of the Tsechu are the Cham (sacred dances) which take place around the Dzong (fortress monasteries) and represent religious, moral and historical events in dance and theatrical form. With great skill the monks dance wearing colourful masks which in the eyes of the spectators take on the form they represent. The tantric dance, repeated and obsessive and the rite exorcise the negativity evoked. Participation in this event is genuinely popular and alternates between moments of religious intensity and humorous representations in which there is no shortage of criticism of traditional values. Chams last several days (10 according to custom), during which the locals unite simply and authentically, both to watch the events as well as in the conviviality of the meals shared in the fields around the Dzongs. The pictures in this series are part of a personal publishing project and were taken during the Tsechu in Paro (one of the most important in the country) in March 2013