The day was observed as a public holiday till 2007

Event: The seventh day of the 11th month of the Bhutanese calendar, Ngyenpa Guzom, will be observed across the nation today.

Although it is considered as the most inauspicious day, it is observed like most other Bhutanese festivals. People eat good food and play traditional games.

Ngyenpa Guzom literally means “the meeting of nine evils”. Most Bhutanese refrain from doing important works.

Although many Bhutanese consider Ngyenpa Guzom significant from the religious and cultural point of view, the day was removed from the list of government holidays in 2007.

Blessed Rainy Day or Thruebab was also removed as a national holiday along with  Ngeynpa Guzom. However, Thrubab was reinstated as a public holiday after people raised the issue with their respective MPs.

National Council member from Trongsa Tharchen said he once proposed to the social affairs committee to include the issue in the agenda for discussion in the Upper House. He is of the view that the public holiday should be reinstated, saying: “It was observed as a significant day from the religious point till recent years.”

The demand to reinstate this day as a public holiday, Tharchen said, has been raised by senior citizens and religious figures many times.

An official from the home and cultural affairs ministry said the holiday was removed because Bhutan has too many public holidays. However, he preferred not to comment on whether the government is willing to reinstate the public holiday.

Another official, requesting anonymity, said removing or adding one government holiday from the calendar does not make any difference. “Adding one more day in the list of holidays does not affect working days. But removing one significant day from the list does have huge adverse impacts on culture and religion,” he said.

A corporate employee said unless Ngyenpa Guzom is reinstated as a public holiday, people will forget the importance of the day. “Culture and religion is the core of Bhutan’s identity. Future generations will have no idea about this tradition,” he said.

MB Subba