Many resort to conducting rituals to prevent new coronavirus

Tashi Dema

As the news of the first positive COVID-19 case spread, a 75-year-old Paro resident called his family members in a remote village in Trongsa to conduct rituals.

He also called all nieces, nephews and grandchildren to send money home, reasoning that in times of epidemic disease, it is important to conduct rituals for an individual’s safety and country’s wellbeing.

“Our forefathers conduct rituals whenever there were calamities,” he said. “It will benefit in preventing the disease.”

This is not an isolated case.

Many individuals, communities, religious organisations and even the central monastic body is conducting rituals to prevent the spread of the disease.

The commission for religious organisations through a press release on March 6, asked all the religious organisations in the country to conduct kurims and submit the report to the commission. A similar press release from the dratsang lhentshog on March 7 asked all dratsangs, shedras and goendeys to conduct rituals within two weeks.

It stated that the rituals should start from lhabsang, which is a cleansing ritual, and Tashi Reykong in the morning and soelkhas and Jigten Wangchuk prayers in the evening. During the day, prayers to Sangay Menlha, protective deities and Dolma Dugselma were offered.

A former monk explained that conducting kurims help in subsiding the outbreak of any diseases and it is must we conduct the rituals in the wake of COVID-19 case. “As we conduct rituals, our protecting deities would be appeased and that will help in subsiding and preventing the outbreak.”

Bhutanese believe that the blessings of the protective deities help in situation like this. “Prayers and rimdos give us the positive energy. This is what we need today to prevent the spread of the disease,” said a corporate employee. “That’s why we had been able to contain the disease to a single case so far.”