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.