Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

Residents of Samdrupjongkhar watched the annual tshechu live on the dratsang’s Facebook page yesterday.

Although the dzongkhag declared three days tshechu holiday to the residents, the tshechu was held indoors without any spectators because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Only monks performed the mask dances. Beycham, which is performed by dzongkhag mask dancers and other cultural items were also not performed.

The dzongkhag culture officer, Pema Wangda, said the annual tshechu was being organised amidst the pandemic because it is a yearly kurim for people’s wellbeing.

He said it was organised in the dratshang, as it’s a self-containment area. “We are following Covid-19 preventive measures strictly. We have handwashing taps at the main gate and Druk Trace QR code. We also maintain a metre space during the ritual in the lhakhang.”

The culture officer said only limited officials are allowed to attend the tshechu. “The dzongkhag administration announced holiday for all government offices, institutions and schools during the tshechu but we told them to avoid unnecessary public gatherings to prevent the spreading of Covid-19 in the community.”

Dratshang’s secretary, Cheku Dorji, said that the tshechu was scheduled on December 27 last year, but it was deferred because of the second nationwide lockdown.

The three-day annual tshechu ends tomorrow.