Bhutan National Day – December 17: History, Facts & Quotes

Bhutan National Day, observed annually on December 17, holds immense cultural and historical significance for the people of Bhutan. This day marks the establishment of the Bhutanese monarchy and is a time for celebration, reflection, and national pride.

In the heart of the Himalayas lies Bhutan, a country known for its breathtaking landscapes, rich culture, and unique traditions. Bhutan National Day celebrated on December 17, is a momentous occasion that commemorates the establishment of the monarchy in 1907.

History of Bhutan National Day

Bhutan National Day commemorates two pivotal events in the country’s history. First, in the early 17th century, Bhutan faced internal conflicts until Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, a Buddhist monk and military leader, unified the nation by establishing the Drukpa Kagyu lineage of Buddhism. This laid the foundation for the modern Bhutanese state.

The second key event occurred in 1907 when Ugyen Wangchuck was elected as the first Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King) after a period of political instability. His coronation on December 17th marked the beginning of the Wangchuck dynasty and the shift to a constitutional monarchy, symbolizing Bhutan’s transition from a feudalistic system to a unified nation under a stable monarchy.

How to Observe Bhutan National Day

Attend Official Celebrations:

Join the festivities at the Changlimithang National Stadium in Thimphu, featuring a Royal address, processions, cultural performances, and traditional sports like archery and darts.

Participate in Local Events:

Across the country, towns and villages organize their celebrations with dances, music, food stalls, and community gatherings. Immerse yourself in the local spirit by joining these events.

Dress Traditionally:

Wear a Kira (dress) for women or a Gho (robe) for men to show respect and participate in the festive spirit. Many shops offer rentals or purchase options.

Experience Bhutanese Cuisine:

Indulge in local dishes like Ema Datshi (chilli cheese), Phaksha Pa (buckwheat pancakes), and Zom (hot rice soup) at restaurants and food stalls offering special National Day menus.

Learn About Bhutanese Culture:

Visit museums, Dzongs (fortresses), and monasteries to gain a deeper understanding of Bhutan’s rich history and traditions. National Day often features cultural performances and exhibitions.

5 Facts About Bhutan National Day

Double Celebration:

Bhutan National Day on December 17th is extra special because it marks not just one, but two important events in Bhutan’s history. It honors the joining of Bhutan under Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in the 17th century and the crowning of the first King, Ugyen Wangchuk, in 1907. This day symbolizes the birth of a united nation and the start of a new era.

Name Change:

Originally known as “Coronation Day,” the celebration got a makeover in 1972 and was officially renamed “National Day.” This change reflected the broader significance of the day, emphasizing its importance beyond just the King’s crowning. It became a celebration of Bhutan’s national identity and shared heritage.

Grand Celebrations in Changlimithang:

The main festivities take place at the Changlimithang National Stadium in Thimphu. Picture a vibrant parade featuring the statue of the first Druk Gyalpo, captivating cultural performances, and traditional sports like archery and darts, topped off with a Royal address—a true spectacle!

Local Jubilation:

National Day is not limited to Thimphu; it’s a nationwide celebration! Every town and village in Bhutan comes alive with lively festivities, including traditional dances, music, tasty food stalls, and heartwarming community gatherings. It’s a chance to soak in the local spirit and experience the true essence of the day.

Eco-Friendly Party:

Bhutan, known as the world’s only carbon-negative country, keeps its National Day celebrations green. The focus is on sustainability and eco-friendly practices, adding a unique touch to the festivities. This commitment to environmental responsibility showcases Bhutan’s dedication to preserving its beautiful natural surroundings.

Bhutan National Day Quotes, Wishes, and Messages

“May the spirit of Bhutan National Day inspire unity and prosperity for all.”

“Wishing the people of Bhutan a joyous and vibrant National Day celebration!”

“In the tapestry of Bhutan’s history, National Day is a colorful thread of unity and pride.”

Bhutan National Day Dates

2023December 17Sunday
2024December 17Tuesday
2025December 17Wednesday
2026December 17Thursday
2027December 17Friday


What is Bhutan National Day?

Bhutan National Day is an annual celebration that commemorates the establishment of the Bhutanese monarchy in 1907.

When is Bhutan National Day?

Bhutan National Day is observed on December 17 each year.


As Bhutan National Day approaches, it is a time for all Bhutanese, both at home and abroad, to reflect on their shared history and look forward to a future of unity, prosperity, and cultural preservation. Let’s celebrate the vibrant tapestry of Bhutan on this special day.

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