THIMPHU, BHUTAN—Noting that the season seemed to come earlier and earlier every year, local Bhutanese man Sangay Wangyel told reporters Friday that he couldn’t believe his neighborhood pharmacy was already stocking stuff for Lhabab Duchen. “It’s still more than a month away and they’re already laying out the wooden shrines and their little statues of Buddha?” said an annoyed Wangyel, wondering aloud why the cheap butter lamps and the paper plates bedecked with gyeling horns had to take up two full aisles of the store. “Jeez, Chokor Duchen has barely even passed, and they’re already trying to milk us for our hard-earned ngultrums. It’s ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong—I like Lhabab Duchen as much as the next guy, but can’t we have a little bit of a break before all these shops break out their winter solstice decorations for Nyinlong?” At press time, Wangyel had bypassed the holiday aisle, saying he planned to return after the celebrations were over and all the plastic triple ladders representing Buddha’s descent from the heavenly realm were half-off.

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