What I Know About Annual Bongo Archery – by Rinzin Bataykaap

This writeup about Bongo Archery is from the facebook post in Bongopas group by Rinzin Bataykaap.

Like Haap’s Hoentoe, Parop’s Lomba, Ketob’s Nyaruu, Bongops also celebrate 1st to 5th days of 11th Bhutanese month as an important Bongop festival, at the same time with Parop’s celebrating their Lomba. On the 29th and 30th of 10th Lunar month, Bongops perform public rimdro and starts archery on 1st of 11th Lunar month.

Long time back , during my childhood, all men who can play, plays archery, no matter, number of players from each side and those who don’t play archery, they have to join the team as Pazap, that’s one men from each house hold. All players, women dancers and pazaps have to gather in Lhakhang before 6 am, that is as soon as Lhakhang keeper ( Koenyer) finishes his Lhapsang. So they starts their procession from Lhakhang to archery ground singing Lebey and pazaps shouting ‘Aey ho hoo’. I saw late comers serving zhugdrey and even have to serve bangchang of atleats  eight chhang drey.

About punishment, there were 5 senior members as decision taking board and to control Driglam Namsha. If anyone quarrel, fights, or creates any serious problem in the gathering from 6 AM to 5 PM, the cost of one OX or the pig shall be levied on him or her by the senior members that is the final decision of public too. But during that time, people use to bring their own pack lunch and drinks.
Later, elders decided to cook for all and for the benefit of visiting guests from outside and from other villages.

They decided to collect rice, vegetables,ara, bangchang, singchang ( Tsogchang) and fire wood from the village, that is from each house hold and the cost of meat what ever and soelra for dancers and helpers should bear by the outsiders ( Govt, employyes, arm forces, business man) joining the archery festival.The left over cash amount will be kept for next year. Since that day the annual archery festival is also marked as Annual Family Gathering.Every year on the last day they elect one host or Archery tshogpa from village and one from outside.The new host or Tshogpa from the village receives khadar from the retiring Tshogpa and then takes over the cash balance in presence of all members.
In the same year Gup Jangchu and other senior members made an agreement with the outsiders that all Bongops wherever they work, whatever they do, all have to be present during Annual Bongo Archery festival. Failures have to pay penalty of Nu. 300 with written justification through one of the elected Tshogpa from outside.
During that time, many young Bongops were working in Thimphu and everyone had to rush home on 30th of the Bhutneese 10th month. Everyone eager to go home, so Au Pema Dorji, Au Penjo, Dasho Kinley and other senior workers have to run from office to office to request leave for young officials. Ha haa sometimes, have to make fake wireless messages and some bunk from office. many of us use to catch 3rd Phuntsoling BGTS bus that reach us at Gedu Laptsa at around 3.30 to 5 Pm. From there we walk whole night to Bongo so that we can show our face in Lhakhang before 6.30 AM. next day.

Now we have good road till archery ground, that is just 4 to 5 hrs. drive from Thimphu and Phuntsoling, but every year hardly 10 outsiders join our important family gathering. We have to think, Let’s try and make our gathering successful.Lets join to celebrate with the community. If you don’t know how to play archery, it is not compulsory, you being there is more important.Remember its on 22nd December 2014 .See you there. ( Sorry If my writing is bad)
Today I have posted video clips of last year, so next video clip posts will be ours. be ready.

An Old Song Danced in Bongo 13 Years Ago

Here is the video of an old dance videographed by Lopen Thinley Namgay, Husband of Bongop Sister Keza in Bongo. The video was retrieved from a VHS Tape and post processed for better viewing. We post it here so that we can dance to this song again. For now, as much as we are aware, we haven’t seen our women dance it in the village as well. Hope it was melodious to all others as much as we enjoyed and hope some Bongops may be interested to research on it further to have the song danced completely. Enjoy.

 

Lha Chod by Aum Nyejhom – One beautiful Culture we Have

Dear Bongops La,

We are glad to have come across a video of Lha Chod by Aum Nyejhom,  recorded nine years ago in Phasuma village, Bongo.The year was 2007 and there was no electricity in Phasuma at that time. So the video quality is not that good but we can still see a lot of things happening during the Lha Chod.  Many people have gathered on that evening to celebrate with the hosts. The hosts is Aum Sithu Dema and Ap Ugay. There is ‘Ka Pa Shey’ by the Neyjhom and sequence of events which we are not able to describe without further interview.

The reason for posting this video is to make all of us aware that this beautiful culture which promotes happiness of our people in the villages may one day disappear. There are no more Nyejhoms in our villages and only Aum Kinley (the Nyejhom here) is doing all Lha Chod in Bongo, Phasuma, Zamsa and Baikuenza. We need to document, promote and also encourage our younger generations to take interest in this ritual.

The other reason is also that the amount of research and documentation in Bongo and other villages about Pawo and Nyejhom is very rare. We have frankly not even come across one literature. But we do see a great amount of research done in Eastern Bhutan and other parts of Bhutan.  For those of you interested to pursue further research, we would like to share here one research article by Mona Schrempf of Germany who did about Nyejhom in Trongsa under her research title ‘Becoming a Female Ritual Healer in Eastern Bhutan’. Her article is also attached for you to read if you may be interested.

Thank you

Download the article ‘Becoming a Female Ritual Healer in Eastern Bhutan’  from below

becoming-a-female-ritual-healer-in-east-bhutan

source: https://dorjipenjore.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/becoming-a-female-ritual-healer-in-east-bhutan.pdf

Compiled by: Sangay Thinley, Nagoya University, Japan (sthinley@gmail.com)

13 December 2016