Thimphu’s Norzin Lam and Changlimithang parking would normally be crowded with people spending the holidays with their loved ones, going through the various food stalls, games stalls, shops and restaurants, during Thimphu Tshechu.
People, young and old, wore bright and colourful ghos and kiras to witness the scared mask dances at the Tendrelthang of the Tashichhodzong during the three days. The fun heightened with the scrumptious pack lunch and tea eaten at the Tendrelthang.
However, this is the second year, whereby, the people did not get a chance to witness the Tshechu in person or enjoy the various stalls.
The Tendrelthang, with the seating capacity of 1,000 people was empty this year. Likewise, people are not too enthusiastic about the online Tsechu discounts and offers. Everyone is hoping for things to get to normal starting next year.
Chencho, who runs a garment stall, said that if pandemic continues for another year then his business might go bankrupt. “Tshechu days are the best days in a year for us to make a good income, and we can also recover all the losses we incur in year. We would be able to clear all the summer stock,” he said.
A businesswoman selling garments, Thinley, said that she would get excited as the Tshechu approached, as she knew there would be lots of buyers. “Now, I have lots of old stock, which even after giving certain percent discount, people won’t buy,” she said.
The shopkeepers are desperate to get back to the old days when would be equally excited to operate their business during the Tshechu, she added.
A restaurant owner who runs a food stall every year during Tshechu, Dawa Lham, said that the Tshechu used to be the best time for them to earn a good amount. She used to earn a minimum of Nu 30,000 in a day, and easily Nu 100,000 in three days’ time, which they can hardly earn in a month or so.
“Income has gone down by 50 percent, and with the vaccine, we thought everything would get back to normal, however, it did not go as we had expected,” she said.
Meanwhile, 75-year-old Damchoe Dema shared that she is missing those days when she, along with her whole family, could go and witness the Tshechu in the Tendrelthang taking their pack lunch for the whole family. “That would be the best day of the year, to be together with our family. Cousins would gather and eat together, shops together and get the blessings together,” she said.
The pandemic has ruined everything, she said, adding that she is apprehensive if she will get a chance to witness everything together in the coming year.
Thimphu Tshechu took place from 16 to 18 September 2021, and was telecast LIVE on BBS.