Especially significant was the unfurling of the Throngdrel, a three-story-tall tapestry displayed only on important occasions. So revered is the tapestry that simply viewing it is believed to absolve a person's sins. A huge line of people processed around the tower from which it was hung - clockwise, as is the custom - to see the Throngdrel and gain karma.
Of course, my account of the experience would be incomplete without mentioning one other aspect of the celebration. Among the Buddhist practitioners attending the celebration was His Majesty, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. As monks played horns and drums, he and Her Majesty the Queen walked into the temple, and we stood maybe thirty feet away from them!
Coming from a Western, Christian background, I was fascinated by this Buddhist holiday. This is because on the surface, there is little in common between the two religions, but beneath all the differences, common threads such as community, celebration, and ceremony connect the two traditions to each other. For me, this was the most important part of the celebration of the Parinirvana.