Locally known as Thrue-Bab, Blessed Rainy Day is an indigenous festival for the Bhutanese. It is only celebrated in Bhutan and nowhere else in the world. The festival is celebrated on September 23rd and it is said that on that specific day, the rain is sanctified by the Buddha Mahavairocana. And so, the people of Bhutan takes a cleansing bath from the rain water that’s collected overnight to purify all the bad karma or any befoulment of a person.
It is said that the festival marks the end of farming season and the start of the harvest months. In East Bhutan, Thrue-Bab is a big festival. Some call it as a gateway to other celebrations because it’s the first of all festivals in the Bhutanese Calendar.
Thru-Bab is drawn from Buddhism and that’s the reason it is being celebrated. It is said that at the beginning of everything, the universe growing and a sun, the moon and a planet called Rikhi, or Thruelkar, were formed with other solar systems. The planet Rikhi is said to be composed of water crystal jewels. It is situated at half the height of Mount Meru, which is believed to be the center of the universe in Buddhism. And they also believe that in one year, there are six months of day and six months of night on the planet Rikhi. The planet Rikhi is said to make a round of mount Rirab Lhuenpo in every year.
It is believed that half the height of mount Rirab Lhuenpo, there is a huge statue of the Buddha Nampar Nangdzay. The statue’s crown is composed of the same material as the one that’s made up the planet Rikhi. As it passes by its orbit, the planet Rikhi occur with the crown of the statue once every year. The planet was said to take seven days to pass by the crown of Buddha. And during these seven days, blessed and pure rain is believed to fall on earth from the influence of the Buddha’s crown and the planet.
For seven days, the Buddhas and Boddhisatvas brew pure rain into potions of life and great luck. The rain on the day is said to be very holy that taking shower in it will clean all of the negativity and befoulment in a person’s life. This day is marked as Blessed Rainy day in Bhutan.
Back on earth, on the eve of the Thrue-Bab, we keep buckets on our roof to collect the blessed rain water. In the early morning, the rain water collected overnight is to be mixed with tap water and all the family members take a bath with the blessed water with prayers. After the bath, everyone will sit around in a circle with a fire in the middle and start the day with local favorite dishes including suja juice, thukpa noodle soup, and then all the delicacies of a Losar festival.
The Thrue-Bay is a well-known festival for Buddhists and tourists who often attend them to cleanse their souls out of any impurity. Among fifteen national festivals celebrated in Bhutan, Thrue-Bab is considered as a grand event to be observed not only by the Bhutanese but also by the Tibetans.