Eight residents of Kamdar chiwog in Lhuentse sued the members of a household last month after they allegedly refused to participate in the community’s dancing festival.

The festival, locally known as drochhung, used to be held annually involving the three villages of Kamdar, Tangmachu and Phagedung was not observed for the last four years. Drochhung is a native term for dance.

The villagers revived the tradition this year but the household in Kamdar that traditionally contributed in the form of dropoen (lead dancers) refused to participate this year.

The case was first reported to Maenbi gewog administration and although the gewog officials intervened by requesting the residents to participate, they refused stating that they do not know how to dance and sing.

The gewog administration then asked the people to take the matter to Lhuentse court.

Maenbi Gup Tshethrimla said that when people do not participate, the local festival is not conducted and the tradition vanishes. “It is a must for everyone to participate to preserve our tradition.”

Residents of the gewog say they are worried that drochhung would vanish if villagers were not willing to perform.

When the festival was held earlier this month, only the people of Tangmachu and Phajedung performed.

A group from Kamdar chiwog could not perform because of lack of participants and differences with the monastic institution there. A woman from Kamdar chiwog reportedly refused to participate.

A villager from Tangmachu, Tshewang Lhamo, said that the dzongkhag’s officiating cultural officer visited the gewog and asked all residents to participate. She said that the dzongdag also asked her to participate.

Another villager, Lam Dorji, 68, said that while the dzongkhag and gewog administrations are emphasising on preserving the local festival it was sad that locals are not taking interest.

During the four-day festival, men and women sing and dance wearing different costumes. All villagers gather in their best attires to witness the festival.

While the festival brings all people together, locals also believe that the festival is an offering of songs and dances to the deities that are believed to bring peace and harmony in the locality.

The Lhuentse dzongkhag court will conduct the rebuttal of the household residents today.

Tashi Phuntsho | Lhuentse