The Teechi Festival: A Prayer for World Peace
Many different festivals are held in Nepal each year. Some are widespread and are celebrated in virtually every city in the country. Others are more localized and may be celebrated in only one city or locality. The Teechi Festival is the latter, as it is celebrated only in the Upper Mustang Region in Lo-Manthang.
The Teechi Festival in Nepal is quite an unusual festival with a central theme that really is something that most of the world can identify with. The name ‘Teechi’, which is also sometimes pronounced ‘Teeji’, is an abbreviation for the words ‘Tempa Chirim’. The name translates into ‘Prayer for World Peace’ – something which, many would agree, is something there has never been a greater need for. However, the actual festivities seem quite far removed from the everyday problems facing much of mankind as they involve ‘Dorjee Sonnu’, the incarnation of Lord Buddha, and Man Tam Ru, a demon creature that feeds on humans and causes misery and mayhem through droughts and storms. The festival commemorates Buddha’s victory over the demon and lasts a total of three days. It most often takes place during the last week of May and is quite colorful, so if you would like to observe it make sure that you book your plane ticket for the right time of year.
During the festivities of the Teechi Festival in Nepal, the monks of Lo Manthang’s ‘choedhe’ monastery put on a bright and colorful display as they take part in a series of intricate dances. There are about 65 monks in total from Lo Manthang, Nhenyul and Chhosyer, who all live in the monastery in Khempo Tasi Tenzing Rimpoche and who take part in the performance. On the first day of the celebrations the harassment of Man Tam Ru is reenacted in the Tsa Chham dance. The second day’s festivities are called ‘Nga Chham’ and see the birth of Dorjee Sonnu as the demon’s son. The final day sees the attempt to return the demon to the spirit realm inhabited by Buddha. The entire affair is energetic, well-organized, colorful and interesting to watch, so if you would like to try something different during your stay in Nepal, make sure you don’t miss out on the Teechi Festival.