History behind Haap and Parop’s Chungdu Soelka

Although Haa and Paro are two distinct districts separated miles apart, the people of the two districts share similarities in language and culture. One of them is the practice of offering the first harvest of crops to Haa’s local deity, Chungdu. People in the two districts still make the offering as in the olden days.

Every year, on the 15th day of the 11th lunar month, the people of Paro come to Jangkakha at Haa to make their offerings of rice and wine to the wrathful deity. The elderly residents gathered at the ritual said the practice is of huge significance to them.

“In ancient times, Haa’s Chungdu and Paro’s Jojo Drakay who is commonly called as Ap Genyen were very good friends. Once, when they were heading towards Tibet, they came across a river, which was used for paddy cultivation. They then decided to take the water body to Bhutan. Then, Jojo Drakay gave a local wine to Chungdu and when Chungdu got drunk, Jojo Drakay is said to have taken the river towards Paro. So, when Chungdu tried to divert the river towards Haa, Jojo Drakay told him that although the river would be used for growing rice in Paro, the first harvest of the crop would always be offered to him. They then agreed to settle the argument,” said Tshering Penjor, a resident of Talung in Bji Gewog, Haa.

The devotees said if they fail to come and make the offering every year, it is believed that illnesses and misfortune would occur in the districts and individual households.

“If we do not conduct the ritual as in the past, our deities will not be happy with us. So, we will be struck with misfortunes,” said Gyembo Tshering, a resident from Lunyi Gewog in Paro.

Chencho Dorji, a resident of Tsento Gewog in Paro said, “We would become sick if we fail to make the offering.”

Tshering Penjor added, “As this ritual originated from the truce between Chungdu and Jojo Drakay, if we do not perform the ritual, the yield of crops in Paro will not be good the following year and there will be illnesses and diseases as well. That’s why all the people make a point to attend the ceremony with devotion and dedication.”

According to the elderly devotees, to preserve the tradition, they have been teaching and educating the younger generation on the ways and importance of celebrating the occasion.

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