Most of the time it falls on the third week of September, but the exact date on the western calendar keeps on changing. We follow our own Bhutanese lunar calendar and it has got it’s own rhythm and its unique pattern. Which I find it more beautiful. It might confuse the first time users, but I guarantee, you will get a hang of it as you get to know the pattern.
The day, that’s as controversial as it’s blessed, when the former government at one point decided to do away with, is the Blessed Rainy Day or Thruebap, as called in our language. On this particular day, at a particular time predicted by the astrologer, we believe the rain that’s been blessed by the Gods and the Goddess will rain with the ability to cleanse all forms of sins committed by us, body, speech and mind.
A holy holiday it is indeed, but we get carried away by merry making. Now, this is also quite interesting to note, since this special day by our lunar calendar, falls on past half autumn season of the year, which also introduces the end of the monsoon and the season of harvest in our country. And since it is a holiday, our fore-parents thought why not celebrate it altogether? Let’s get cleansed body, speech and mind and then reap what we have sown!
As a boy, I remember how my late mother would prepare for it a month before, with brewing of ara, changkay, singchang, zow and khabzees (first three home brewed alcohol, last two home-made snacks). A day before the main day, she would tune into radio, and get the exact time of the blessed rain to be bestowed. After its heard, she would gather some petals, afloat them on a huge wooden tub (for we are quite huge in numbers :)). After everything is set, she would be the last one to reach bed. The very next day, you know what happens!
Since then I was very fond of Thukpa (Bhutanese porridge), that also beef thukpa, rich with wild pepper and rutoos (bones chopped the size of approximately 1.5cm2) to chew on and on and on. I would stay by the huge Thukpa pot for the whole day. Oh, gosh, how I miss those days!
All of a sudden, after years of having beef thukpas, suddenly I realized, it’s indeed a very holiday, I mean a, “Holy” day and the very significance of this day is to cleanse our body, speech, and mind. Now, wait a second, when gods and goddess or heaven or whoever or something that you believe in has the love to cleanse your body, speech and mind, why would you make it dirty again? Oh, my, oh, the pain, the suffering and the agony poor souls have to go through just to make our thukpa tasty.
I know, more than 60-70% of our fellow citizens still do harvest, to them I don’t have much to say, for they might need the strength to harvest, protect it and reach them home safely. If they can also think of it, then its well and good. But, for folks living in concrete jungles like you and I, I think we can make it vegetarian isn’t it? I am not saying, “you should,” I am just saying, “can you try?” Well, I am going vegetarian this Thruebap and hopefully I can make it next Thruebap a vegetarian one too.
So long, to my beef Thukpa craving!