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Bhutan national holidays 2020

bhutan national holidays 2020

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His Majesty the King's 111th National Day Address 2018.12.17
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Bhutan has numerous public holidays, most of which center around traditional seasonal, secular, and religious festivals. They include winter solstice (around January 1, depending on the lunar calendar), lunar new year (January or February), the Druk Gyalpo's birthday and the anniversary of his coronation, the official start of monsoon season (September 22), National Day (December 17), and various Buddhist and Hindu celebrations. Even the secular holidays have religious overtones, including religious dances and prayers used to bless the day.

Masked dances and dance dramas are common traditional features at festivals. Energetic dancers wearing colorful wooden or composition face masks employ special costumes and music to depict a panoply of heroes, demons, death heads, animals, gods, and caricatures of common people. The dances enjoy royal patronage and preserve not only ancient folk and religious customs but also perpetuate the art of mask making.

Data as of September 1991

NOTE: The information regarding Bhutan on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Bhutan Festivals information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Bhutan Festivals should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.


Public holidays in Bhutan

Wikipedia list article

Public holidays in Bhutan consist of both national holidays and local festivals or tshechus. While national holidays are observed throughout Bhutan, tsechus are only observed in their areas.[1] Bhutan uses its own calendar,[2] a variant of the lunisolarTibetan calendar. Because it is a lunisolar calendar, dates of some national holidays and most tshechus change from year to year. For example, the new year, Losar, generally falls between February and March.

National holidays[edit]

Bhutan has sixteen public holidays.[1] Bhutanese holidays are rooted in the Drukpa Lineage of Kagyu Buddhism, the House of Wangchuck and the Tibetan calendar. Even secular holidays, however, have a measure of religious overtone, as religious choreography and blessings mark these auspicious days.[3]

Winter solstice[edit]

Nyinlong or Nyilong (Dzongkha: ཉིན་ལོང་, Wylie: nyin long "return of the sun"),[4] the winter solstice celebration, is a public holiday falling on 2 January every year.[1][5] Nyinlog is considered the most auspicious day of the year.[4] It is celebrated like new year among some western Bhutan, though more so in the central and eastern regions, where the shortest day of the year is marked with archery and feasting.[5] Farmers, on the other hand, may feel some chagrin as the solstice signals longer and longer work days ahead.[6]

Traditional Day of Offering[edit]

The Traditional Day of Offering[1] (Dzongkha: buelwa phuewi nyim) is a holiday usually falling in January or February, on the 1st day of the 12th month of the calendar.[7] The main purpose behind this holiday is to give thanks to Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the founder of Bhutan.[8] It also focuses on charity, particularly feeding others, and recreation.[6] The day is celebrated with feasting and traditional sports, including archery, digor, and khuru (darts).[7] This holiday may have originally begun as a Bhutanese new year celebration.[9]


Losar (Dzongkhaལོ་གསར་, Wylie: lo gsar), the New Year, is celebrated between February and March, officially on the 1st month, 1st day of the calendar.[1] Festivities last 15 days, ahead of which people spend much time preparing food and alcohol and cleaning their homes of old and unused objects.[10][11] In Bhutan, different communities celebrate Losar at slightly different times and refer to the holiday by particular local names.[9] The common Losar greeting is "tashi delek."

Birthday of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck[edit]

February 21–23 are holidays commemorating the birth anniversary of Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck the 5th and current Druk Gyalpo.[1]

Zhabdrung Kuchoe[edit]

Shabdrung Kurchoe[1] marks the passing of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1651 at Punakha Dzong. It generally falls in April or May (4th month, 10th day of the calendar). The holiday is a national day of mourning.[12]

Birthday of King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck[edit]

May 2 is the birth anniversary of Jigme Dorji Wangchuck the 3rd Druk Gyalpo, who began Bhutan's first steps toward modernization (b. 1928, Thruepang Palace, Trongsa).[1][12]

The day is also celebrated as Teacher’s day throughout the country. The day sees students coordinating various programs at schools and institution showing gratitude to their teachers. Students gift cards to Teachers, while some students substitute their teachers in class to give them a time-out. The day also constitute cultural programs showcasing various dance and song items focusing on teachers and their contributions. The day usually ends with a common meal for the entire school or institution.

Coronation of King Jigme Singye Wangchuck[edit]

June 2 is the coronation day of the Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the 4th Druk Gyalpo (1974).[1] It also doubles as Social Forestry Day, where children plant trees.[12]

Parinirvana of Buddha[edit]

June 15 is Parinirvana Day,[1] a public holiday commemorating the nirvana of Gautama Buddha.

Birthday of Guru Rinpoche[edit]

July 10 marks the birth anniversary of Guru Rinpoche (also known as Padmasambhava),[1] the saint credited with introducing Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century AD.

First Sermon of Buddha[edit]

August 3 marks the first sermon of Gautama Buddha at Sarnath.[1]

Blessed Rainy Day[edit]

Blessed Rainy Day[1] (Dzongkha: thruebab) generally falls in September, and is held on an auspicious day during monsoon season. The traditional holiday has not always been a public holiday, but was rather recently reinstated to official status.[13] The event is marked by feasting, drinking alcohol, playing traditional sports, and purification through washing. In some parts of Pemagatshel, the traditional celebrations are more intense than those of even Losar.[14]


Dashain, the main Nepalese (and Hindu festival, falls on October 6.[1][15] During this holiday, houses are cleaned and replastered, gifts are exchanged, and families gather.[6] Dashain has been a public holiday in Bhutan.[16]

Coronation of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck[edit]

November 1 marks the coronation day of Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the 5th and current Druk Gyalpo (2008).[6]

Birthday of King Jigme Singye Wangchuck[edit]

November 11 marks the birth anniversary of Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the 4th Druk Gyalpo (b. 1955, Dechencholing Palace, Thimphu).[6] The holiday is also called Constitution Day; under this king and at his behest, the Constitution of Bhutan was enacted.

Lhabab Duchen[edit]

Lhabab Duchen is a public holiday[1] generally falling in November (on the 9th month, 22nd day of the Tibetan calendar). Lhabab Duchen marks Gautama Buddha's return to earth after attaining Nirvana. In the eastern regions of Bhutan, the holiday is a popular occasion for performing Lhasoel, which are religious offerings in the form of ara (traditional wine), blessings, and supplications.[17]

National Day[edit]

The National Day of Bhutan is December 17. The date marks the coronation of Ugyen Wangchuck as the first Druk Gyalpo of modern Bhutan.[18] Celebrations are held at Changlimithang Stadium, and include a public address by the Druk Gyalpo and a procession including a statue of Ugyen Wangchuck to honor the first Druk Gyalpo and the independent Bhutanese nation.[19][20][21]


Main article: Tsechu

Numerous tsechus, or festivals, take place for up to five days each at different locales across Bhutan. These usually feature large-scale pageantry and costumes, allegorical dances, archery, and music.[3] These festivals are centuries-old traditions functioning not only as links to the past, but attract large numbers of tourists.[22]

Below is a list of major tsechus in Bhutan, along with their 2011 dates. Dates in other years will vary.

Date Tsechu Location
January 2–04Trongsa TsechuTrongsa
January 2–04Lhuntse TsechuLhuntse
January 2–04Pemagatshel TsechuPemagatshel
January 9Shingkhar MetochodpaBumthang
January 9–13Nabji Lhakhang DrupTrongsa
February 10–15Punakha Dromache & TshechuPunakha
February 17–21Tangsibi ManiBumthang
February 18Chorten KoraTrashiyangtse
February 18Tharpaling ThongdrolBumthang
February 19–21Buli Mani ChumeyBumthang
(1st month, 7th day)
Trashiyangtse TsechuTrashiyangtse
March 4Chorten Kora (2nd)Trashiyangtse
March 13–15GomkoraTrashigang
March 13–15Talo TsechuTalo, Punakha
March 13–16Zhemgang TsechuZhemgang
March 15–19Paro TshechuParo
March 17–19Chhukha TshechuChukha
April 1–03Gaden ChodpaUra, Bumthang
May 12–14Domkhar FestivalChhume, Bumthang
May 14–18Ura YakchoeUra, Bumthang
June 19–21Padsel–Ling KuchodBumthang
JuneLaya Bumkhosa Festival (Bongkor)Laya
July 8–10Nimalung TshechuBumthang
July 9–10
does not move
AlpineHa, Haa
July 10Kurjey TshechuBumthang
July 29Gangte KurimGangte, Wangdue Phodrang
October 1–05Thimphu DrupchenThimphu
October 4–06Wangdue TsechuWangdue Phodrang
October 4–06Gangte Drubchen & TsechuGangte, Wangdue Phodrang
October 6–08Tamshingphala ChoepaBumthang
October 6–08Gasa TsechuDistrict Gasa
October 6–08Thimphu TshechuThimphu
October 10–12Thangbi ManiBumthang
November 1–05Shingkhar RabneyUra, Bumthang
November 3–06Jakar TsechuJakar, Bumthang
November 10–14Jambay Lakhang DrupBumthang
November 11–13Prakhar DuchoedBumthang
November 12
does not move
Black Necked Crane FestivalGangte, Wangdue Phodrang
November 22–25Sumdrang KangsolUra, Bumthang
December 2–05Trashigang TsechuTrashigang
December 2–05Mongar TsechuMongar
December 3–04Tang Namkha Rabney TangBumthang
December 10Singye Cham, Jambay LhakhangBumthang
December 10–12Nalakhar TsechuBumthang
December 10–13Chojam Rabney TangBumthang

See also[edit]


  1. ^ abcdefghijklmno"Public Holidays for the year 2011". Royal Civil Service Commission, Government of Bhutan. 2011-04-26. Archived from the original on 2012-03-28. Retrieved 2011-07-26.
  2. ^Henning, E. (2010-02-05). "Bhutanese Calendar". Kalacakra online. Retrieved 2011-07-28.
  3. ^ abBhutan Foreign Policy and Government Guide. World Foreign Policy and Government Library. 20. International Business Publications. 2000. pp. 46–47. ISBN . Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  4. ^ abWangchuk, Rinzin (2007-12-27). "Observing Ngenpa Guzom". Kuensel online. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  5. ^ ab"Winter Solstice Holiday Resource". Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  6. ^ abcde"Holidays of Bhutan Fall/Winter". Far Flung Places & Bhutan Tourism Corporation. 2011-07-03. Retrieved 2011-07-26.
  7. ^ ab"Traditional Day of Offering". Kuensel online. 2006-01-29. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  8. ^"Traditional Day of Offering". Bhutan Journals online. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  9. ^ abNamgyel, Tenzin (2010-01-17). "The Real Losar?". Kuensel online. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  10. ^Tshering, Dechen (2011-01-06). "The Cooking Up". Kuensel online. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  11. ^Dahal, Rabi C (2010-02-12). "Our Cousins in Losar Celebrations". Bhutan Observer online. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  12. ^ abc"Holidays of Bhutan Spring/Summer". Far Flung Places & Bhutan Tourism Corporation. 2011-07-03. Retrieved 2011-07-26.
  13. ^Palden, Karma (2010-10-24). "Thrubab Brings Fields Alive". Bhutan Observer online. Archived from the original on 2012-04-03. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  14. ^Namgyal, Gembo (2010-09-25). "Bathing in Celestial Precipitation". Bhutan Observer online. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  15. ^Bhandari, Achyut (2010-10-23). "The Significance of Dashain Festival". Bhutan Observer online. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  16. ^"Bhutan Festivals". RAOnline. 2011-06-17. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  17. ^Namgyal, Gyembo (2010-01-19). "It is Lhasoel Time in the East". Bhutan Observer online. Archived from the original on 2011-01-20. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  18. ^"The Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan (Art. 1)"(PDF). Government of Bhutan. 2008-07-18. Archived from the original(PDF) on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2010-10-08.
  19. ^"National Day Celebrations". Bhutan Broadcasting Service. 2010-12-17. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  20. ^Tenzin, Ugyen (2009-12-19). "December 17, the Essence". Bhutan Observer online. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  21. ^"National Day of Bhutan". Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation online. 2010-12-16. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  22. ^Lorie, Jonathan; Sohanpaul, Amy, eds. (2006). The Traveler's Handbook: The Insider's Guide to World Travel. Traveler's Handbook Series (9 ed.). Globe Pequot. p. 206. ISBN . Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  23. ^"Festival Dates". Vivaan Adventure Pvt Ltd. Retrieved 2019-12-08.

Luxury Bhutan Holidays

Bhutan holidays offer more mystery, marvel and magic than almost anywhere else on Earth. Be prepared to be dazzled - the natural beauty of the country is second to none. Bhutan is covered in 90 percent of forest and features an abundance of magnificent mountains for you to explore or simply admire.

If you’re seeking a holiday focused on natural beauty and hiking, then Bhutan is the ideal country for you to visit. There are many lush hiking trails that wind their way through the mountains past untouched countryside. You’ll also find many of the country’s famous monasteries nestled high up in the peaks.

Visit Bhutan for a cultural experience

One of Bhutan’s main draws is the abundance of charming Buddhist monasteries, many of which are found hidden away in striking mountaintops. The most famous Buddhist monastery of the country is the Taktshang Goemba, which is also known as the Tiger’s Nest, and we highly recommend you visit during your Bhutan holiday. This renowned monastery site and temple complex sits atop a cliff, overlooking a sheer drop of over 900 metres which stretches beyond. Not only are the quaint temples of the complex a beautiful attraction, but the surrounding verdant views make this attraction look like a scene right out of a fairy tale.

For sublime 360 degree panoramic views of the snow-capped Himalayas, head to the Dochula Pass, which is set 3,100 metres into the mountains. The site is home to 108 sacred chortens, which typically contain the remains of Buddhist monks or nuns and serve as a spiritual spot for meditation.

Bhutan is considered one of the happiest nations in the world - and you can see this in the welcoming and polite communities you meet throughout your holiday. It’s not unusual to be stopped and greeted by friendly and curious local people, especially groups of school children.

As this charming nation is so small, around five days is long enough to explore Bhutan. This means there’s plenty of time to incorporate another adventure into your multicentre holiday in Bhutan. Your Bhutan holiday works well as part of a wider itinerary, as it can be combined with another country in the Indian Subcontinent or Southeast Asia.

Great sample itineraries

From discovering the charming treasures of Kolkata to exploring the mountains and monasteries for astonishing vistas of the Himalayas, there’s a Bhutan itinerary just for you. Get inspired by our selection of popular itineraries for Bhutan holidays. With so many options for your Bhutan multicentre holiday, we recommend you talk to one of our Destination Specialists to make the perfect tailor made holiday just for you.

The Himalayas

India Moutains Tour

Begin your tour in the former capital of British India, then head to the mountains for majestic Himalayan vistas, charming...

a large yellow boat in the water with Harmandir Sahib in the background

Himalayan Tour India

This extraordinary private tour takes in the best of northern India, a cultural and religious region that can be visited...

Flight Time

Approx. 10–12 hours indirect flight


Bhutan's official currency is Ngultrum. You can exchange major currencies like the UK Pound, US Dollars, Euros and Indian Rupees at Paro Airport, most banks and large hotels.

Visa Information

You will need a passport and visa to enter and exit Bhutan. Keep a photocopy of your passport visa pages and flight ticket separate from the originals when travelling. All visas are approved from Thimphu and are only issued to tourists booked with a local licensed tour operator, either directly or through a foreign travel agent. Applications for tourist visas are submitted by the tour operator.


Dzongkha and English are widely spoken.

Health Info

We recommend that you get vaccinated against Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid and Polio prior to departure, and that you take malaria tablets while visiting rural areas. All travellers should also be up-to-date with routine vaccinations.Drinking tap water in Bhutan should be avoided but you'll find bottled mineral water readily available. Also be aware that many of Bhutan's sights are situated at high altitude and you are likely to experience mild altitude sickness for a short period. If you suffer from high blood pressure or a heart condition, consult your doctor before travelling.

Bhutan is vast becoming a popular tourist destination, it can be difficult to know the best places to visit, and how to go about it. This is why a Hayes & Jarvis tour is a great way to ensure you don’t miss anything in this wonderful country.

This is a picture of Prayer Flags in Bhutan


There’s no better way to truly comprehend Bhutan’s remoteness than a trek through the country’s incredible countryside.


Taktsang Monastery

Precariously perched on the side of a cliff face, the Taktsang Monastery is steeped in legend. Nicknamed the Tiger’s Nest.

Punakha Dzong, Bhutan

Punakha Dzong

Punakha Dzong is arguably the most beautiful due to its picturesque location where two rivers meet.

Punakha Dzong prayer flags

Festivals in Bhutan

Festivals, locally known as Tshechu, are colourful affairs, where people dressed in bright clothing and traditional masks tell age-old stories through energetic dance.

Market in Thimphu

Weekend market

A wonderful place to spend a leisurely morning while trying some local delicacies.

Average Weather in January

Average Weather in February

Average Weather in March

Average Weather in April

Average Weather in May

Average Weather in June

Average Weather in July

Average Weather in August

Average Weather in September

Average Weather in October

Average Weather in November

Average Weather in December

George, Destination Specialist

“Meet the locals: Did you know that Bhutan is said to be the happiest country on earth?”

a woman smiling for the camera

“With its dramatic landscapes and abundant walking trails, you simply can’t visit Bhutan without trying some trekking. If you’re feeling adventurous, head up high to the mountain peaks for the best views of the natural scenery. Don’t forget to buy some proper walking boots!”

Events & Festivals

Festivals and events are wonderful to include during your Bhutan holiday, offering a glimpse into the country’s authentic culture and traditions.

Tshechu Festival

Tshechu Festival, or the Mask Dance Festival, is the most significant religious festival in Bhutan. Tshechu is celebrated annually across various monasteries in honour of the guru Rinpoche and takes place during the tenth day of the Tibetan lunar calendar, which varies from region to region. Tshechu is the time for local people to take entertainment to the streets, receive blessings and wash away the sins of the past year. This wonderful festival highlights Bhutan’s unique culture, and a visit to Bhutan is made all the more special when you witness a traditional mask dance.

Royal Highlander Festival

The Royal Highlander Festival is a relatively new festival, which takes place in the month of October. This event was started to promote highland culture and to introduce Bhutan’s visitors to life up high in the Himalayas. The king attends the festival every year, giving you the chance to interact with Bhutanese royalty.

Local Cuisine

Get a flavour of the local culture through your palate during your Bhutan holiday. Here are a few of our favourite dishes.

Ema Datshi

A visit to Bhutan wouldn’t be complete without sampling ema datshi, the country’s mouthwatering national dish. This tasty spicy stew is full of chilli peppers, onions and local yak cheese. Ema means ‘chilli’ and datshi refers to ‘cheese’ in the Dzongkha language of Bhutan.

Jasha Maroo

Jasha maroo is another traditional Bhutanese dish. Jasha maroo features diced chicken that is then gently cooked with garlic, ginger, chillies, and tomato sauce. Along with chilli peppers, rice is a key staple of the many traditional Bhutanese dishes, so this combination of ingredients is usually served on a steaming hot bed of red or brown rice. Like most Bhutanese dishes, jasha maroo is quite spicy, so make sure you’re prepared for the heat when ordering this plate.

You might also like these

We think you might also like to take a look at these destinations. If you'd like some advice, our Destination Specialists will be able to find something that is right for you.

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Friday National Day Saturday Winter Solstice (Nyilo)Wednesday Traditional Day of Offering Monday Anniversary of His Majesty the King Tuesday Anniversary of His Majesty the King Holiday Wednesday Anniversary of His Majesty the King Holiday Thursday Dangpa Losar (Lunar New Year) (Year of the Male Water Tiger)Friday Losar Holiday Monday Anniversary of the 3rd Druk Gyalpo Wednesday Zhabdrung Kuchhoe (Death Anniversary of Zhabdrung)Tuesday Lord Buddha's Parinirvana Saturday Birth Anniversary of Guru Rinpoche Monday The First Sermon of Lord Buddha Friday Blessed Rainy Day (Thrue Bab)Saturday Thimphu Drubchoe (Thimphu)municipalWednesday Dassain Wednesday Thimphu Tshechu (Thimphu)municipalThursday Thimphu Tshechu (Thimphu)municipalFriday Thimphu Tshechu (Thimphu)municipal
Winter Solstice (Nyilo)
Thursday, January 2, 2020Winter Solstice (Nyilo) is a public holiday in BhutanTraditional Day of Offerings
Saturday, January 25, 2020Traditional Day of Offerings is a public holiday in BhutanKing's Birthday
Friday, February 21, 2020King's Birthday is a public holiday in BhutanKing's Birthday Holiday
Saturday, February 22, 2020King's Birthday Holiday is a public holiday in BhutanLosar (New Year)
Monday, February 24, 2020Losar (New Year) is a public holiday in BhutanLosar Holiday
Tuesday, February 25, 2020Losar Holiday is a public holiday in BhutanMarch Equinox
Friday, March 20, 2020March Equinox in Bhutan (Thimphu)Birth Anniversary of Third Druk Gyalpo
Saturday, May 2, 2020Birth Anniversary of Third Druk Gyalpo is a public holiday in BhutanDeath Anniversary of Zhabdrung (Zhabdrung Kuchoe)
Saturday, May 2, 2020Death Anniversary of Zhabdrung (Zhabdrung Kuchoe) is a public holiday in BhutanBuddha's Parinirvana
Friday, June 5, 2020Buddha's Parinirvana is a public holiday in BhutanJune Solstice
Saturday, June 20, 2020June Solstice in Bhutan (Thimphu)Birth Anniversary of Guru Rinpoche
Tuesday, June 30, 2020Birth Anniversary of Guru Rinpoche is a public holiday in BhutanBuddha's First Sermon
Friday, July 24, 2020Buddha's First Sermon is a public holiday in BhutanThimphu Drubchoe (Thimphu only)
Tuesday, September 22, 2020Thimphu Drubchoe (Thimphu only) is a municipal holiday in BhutanSeptember Equinox
Tuesday, September 22, 2020September Equinox in Bhutan (Thimphu)Blessed Rainy Day
Wednesday, September 23, 2020Blessed Rainy Day is a public holiday in BhutanThimphu Tshechu (Thimphu only)
Saturday, September 26, 2020Thimphu Tshechu (Thimphu only) is a municipal holiday in BhutanDashain
Monday, October 26, 2020Dashain is a public holiday in BhutanKing Jigme Khesar Namgyel's Coronation
Sunday, November 1, 2020King Jigme Khesar Namgyel's Coronation is a public holiday in BhutanDescending Day of Lord Buddha
Saturday, November 7, 2020Descending Day of Lord Buddha is a public holiday in BhutanBirth Anniversary of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo/Consitution Day
Wednesday, November 11, 2020Birth Anniversary of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo/Consitution Day is a public holiday in BhutanNational Day
Thursday, December 17, 2020National Day is a public holiday in BhutanDecember Solstice
Monday, December 21, 2020December Solstice in Bhutan (Thimphu)
bhutan national holidays 2020


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