Religious dances are among the most spectacular rituals of Tibetan tradition. Every monastery and village performs them according to its own customs. The dancers, usually monks, wear colorful brocade clothes, masks of wrathful deities, or special black hats. Each one is equipped with magical weaponry and attributes used to defeat evil. Their every step, hand movement, and gesture as well as the invisible lines of their movements, the vibrant sound of cymbals, and the strident music of gyalings (Tibetan trumpets) have important symbolic meaning. They represent power, concentration and the ability to overcome evil.
Ch’am belongs to the important group of rituals known as thondrol, or “liberation through the senses”, in this case, through sight and hearing. By watching the dances and listening to the accompanying music, the minds of the audience are focused on religious goals and cleansed of inner demons.
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