The annual three-day distinctive Trashigang Tshechu is one of the biggest festivals in eastern Bhutan and held at Trashigang Dzong which sits majestically on high ridge overlooking Dangme Chhu and Gamri Chhu rivers. The festival is scheduled during the 7th to 11th day of the tenth month of the Bhutanese calendar and is also attended by the Brokpas, a semi-nomadic people those reside in the valleys of Merak and Sakteng, the Khengpa community and people from as far as Samdrup Jongkhar, Pema Gatshel and Trashiyangtse.
Preparations for the Tshechu begins few days prior to the actual festival. On the 7th day of the month the monks perform ceremonial ablutions. On 8th day, they have rehearsals in preparation for the Tshechu. Then on the 9th day of the month the Tshechu formally begins. On the 10th day, the Thongdroel (large tapestry) of Neten Chudrug (Sixteen Arhats) is unfurled amidst a flurry of mask dances. On the final day, the old Thongdroel of Guru Tshengyed (eight manifestation of Guru Rinpoche) is displayed. According to local belief, just a glimpse of Thongdroel washes away sins, demerits and witnessing the unfurling of Thongdroel is considered surrendering life to a new beginning without any negativity. The festival viewer becomes a new beginner with new hope and energy in life to do good deeds. The unfurling is also accompanied by the performance of Guru Tshengyed Cham.
Guru Tshengyed means the eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche, the great Buddhist saint. During one of his religious quests in Bhutan, he is said to have transformed himself into eight forms to subdue a demon, which was inflicting harm on human souls. This particular mask dance commemorates the victory of good over evils and is also a tribute to honour Guru Rinpoche.