Got an idea for a holiday? Send it to us

Submit Now

Bhutan National Day – December 17, 2022

The Bhutan National Day in modern Bhutan is celebrated glamorously every December 17. The Changlimithang Stadium is already getting prepared for December 17, as has been done in previous years. Do you know the Bhutan National Holiday dates back as far as 1907? The holiday commemorates the coronation of the first king of Bhutan, Ugyen Wangchuck, as the first Druk Gyalpo. This is a reason his statue is carried during processions on every holiday.

History of Bhutan National Day

During the early 17th century, Bhutan experienced its first unification by a Buddhist monk, Ngawang Namgyal. Bhutan at that time was ruled by the Tibetan dual system of government where Zhabdrung — reincarnations of the mind, body, and speech was practiced, and Ngawang Namgyal was the leader. During the late 19th century, the Tibetan and the British empire had different ideas about how Bhutan should be governed. This led to an outbreak of war between Tibet and the British empire.

Regional leaders in Bhutan began struggling with one another for power. This led Ugyen Wangchuck, the Ponlop of Tongsa in central Bhutan, to stand out. He united the country and built a better relationship with British India. When Ugyen Wangchuck became the dominant leader in Bhutan, religious leaders and government officials held a meeting and decided to abolish the 300-year-old dual system of the previous government style of governance and establish a new one. They eventually settled for monarchy and chose Ugyen Wangchuck as their king.

On December 17, 1907, the coronation of the first king Druk Gyalpo Ugyen Wangchuck was witnessed, establishing the Wangchuck dynasty, which is still ruling today. Druk Gyalpo is the official title given to the Bhutan head of state. It means “Dragon King” in Dzongkha. This is because Bhutan is also known as “The Land of the Thunder Dragon” about Druk, the mythical dragon that is also the national symbol of Bhutan. Unlike the Tshechu holidays, which are celebrated locally in Bhutan, the national holiday is celebrated nationally, shutting down all activities in the country, including government agencies, making it the most significant holiday in Bhutan.

Bhutan National Day timeline

1907
First Coronation

This marks the coronation of the first king of Bhutan, which commemorates the National Day celebration.

1971
Unification

Bhutan joins the United Nations to strengthen its sovereign status further.

1973
Non-Aligned

Bhutan joins the Non-Aligned Movement.

2003
Military Emergence

The fourth king leads the nation’s security forces from the front to successfully uproot the foreign militants, beginning a new day for the nation’s military.

2008
Parliamentary Elections

The fourth king of Bhutan establishes democracy in Bhutan, which culminates in Bhutan’s first democratic Parliamentary election in March.

Bhutan National Day FAQs

What is National Day?

National Day is a day set aside for celebrations to mark the nationhood of a nation or state.

Why do we celebrate National Day?

National Days are celebrated majorly to remind the people of how their country gained its sovereignty. It is also celebrated to increase patriotism.

What does the Bhutan National Day signify?

The day marked when Ugyen Wangchuck was elected as a hereditary king in 1907.

How to Observe Bhutan National Day

  1. Shut down your office

    To celebrate this nationwide ceremony, all governmental Offices are shut down, and all attention is channeled to creating a remarkable memory of the celebration in the hearts of guests that have traveled near and far. This is the perfect day to shut down the office and observe!

  2. Prepare to receive guests

    Preparations are made from the department of Tourism to the Palace of the Druk to the Preparation of Changlingmithang Ground for the event. So everything is just prepared beautifully for the celebration of that glamorous day.

  3. Visit the Changlingmithang Ground for the celebration

    The Bhutanese move to the celebration ground where dignitaries from all walks of life will be present to celebrate the event with them. That could be a good place to be.

5 Facts About Bhutan National Day That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. Commemorated the Coronation of the first king

    The national event commemorates the coronation of the first king, so it reminds the Bhutanese of the bold step taken by their first king to bring unity to Bhutan.

  2. Celebrated yearly in Bhutan since 1907

    The National holiday has been celebrated yearly in Bhutan since its inception, rounding off to 114 National holidays in total.

  3. Delegates come from around the world

    During this celebration, delegates from different nations travel far and near to celebrate with the people of Bhutan, making it a popular event.

  4. Changlingmithang Ground has been chosen

    The Changlingmithang Ground/stadium, which was constructed in 1974 for the Coronation of the fourth Druk, has since been used continuously to celebrate the National Day

  5. Statue of the first Druk Gyalpo

    During the celebration of Bhutan National Day, the statue of the first Druk Gyalpo, Ugyen Wangchuck, is carried out during processions.

Why Bhutan National Day is Important

  1. It is a time to rest and have fun

    It's a public holiday for almost everyone, a time most people use to rest and have fun. We love public holidays!

  2. It strengthens family bonds

    Friends and family travel down for the celebration, strengthening the family bond again. Get together with your family on this day.

  3. It serves as a reminder to the Bhutanese

    It reminds the Bhutanese of the freedom for Bhutan and how the first Druk Gyalpo, Ugyen Wangchuck helped in the mediation for the Bhutan nation. What’s not to love?

Bhutan National Day dates

YearDateDay
2022December 17Saturday
2023December 17Sunday
2024December 17Tuesday
2025December 17Wednesday
2026December 17Thursday

Want to sponsor this holiday?

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.