Monks to replace lay monks at Nyizergang Dromchhoe to perform mask dances

After a few years, the villagers especially the lay monk of Rubeisa Gewog in Wangdue Phodrang will not have to perform the mask dances at Nyizergang Dromchhoe. This is because the monks of Nyizergang Goenzin Dratshang will take over the responsibilities. That came as good news for the villagers as the number of dancers kept on decreasing over the years. 

These mask dancers are mostly lay monks of Rubeisa Gewog.

It has been an age-old tradition to take part in the Dromchhoe. Their forefathers also performed mask dances and passed on the tradition to them.

“The elderly people have gradually resigned due to age factor. And the younger generation is filling the gap. So, now we are left with only a few mask dancers. We are really worried since we have to perform many mask dances with limited dancers. The temple is considered a sacred site and the mask dances are unique here,” said Namgay, lead mask dancer.

“Earlier, during the time of the late 67th Je Khenpo, there were enough lay monks to perform religious activities. However, after His Holiness passed away, the number began to decline. So, it has become a concern for the public and the Gewog Administration,” said Karma Wangdi, Ruebisa Gup.

However, the situation is expected to improve after a few years as the monks of Nyizergang Goenzin Dratshang will perform the mask dances.

The Goenzin Dratshang is already conducting religious activities inside the temple and monks are learning the mask dances.

“Within four to five years, the number of monks will increase. To perform mask dances, we need enough people. So, we are planning to take up the entire responsibility of mask dances so that the lay monks no longer have to perform it,” said Rada Dorji, Principal of Nyizergang Goenzin Dratshang.

“I am sure the Goenzin Dratshang can take up the responsibility within a few years. This year, some of the monks are learning mask dances,” added Ruebisa Gup.

During the two-day Dromchhoe, Kang-Ngyel Chham, Gyep-Gyem and Meng-Moog Chham are performed. The Dromchhoe ended yesterday.

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