Death Anniversary of Zhabdrung in Bhutan in 2025

Death Anniversary of Zhabdrung in Bhutan in 2025
Painting of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in Semtokha Dzong.
  How long until Death Anniversary of Zhabdrung?
Death Anniversary of Zhabdrung
  Dates of Death Anniversary of Zhabdrung in Bhutan
2025 Bhutan Wed, May 7 National Holiday
2024 Bhutan Thu, Apr 18 National Holiday
2023 Bhutan Sun, Apr 30 National Holiday
2022 Bhutan Wed, May 11 National Holiday
2021 Bhutan Thu, Apr 22 National Holiday

Honours a 17th century Tibetan Buddhist lama who first united Bhutan as a nation-state.

  Local name
Zhabdrung Kuchoe

When is the Death Anniversary of Zhabdrung?

Known as Zhabdrung Kuchoe, the Death Anniversary of Zhabdrung is a public holiday in this Himalayan Kingdom on the 10th day of the 3rd month in the Bhutanese lunar calendar. This means it takes place in either April or May in the western calendar.

About the Death Anniversary of Zhabdrung

The nation of Bhutan was founded in the 17th century by Zhabdrung (meaning “at whose feet one submits”) Ngawang Namgyal, a Tibetan Buddhist lama, known colloquially as the Bearded Lama.

Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal was born into a royal family in Tibet in 1594. Despite being enthroned as the hereditary prince, his throne was usurped by a rival who claimed the right to rule. Ngawang Namgyal left Tibet and founded a new base in western Bhutan. Over the coming years, his power over the region increased and in 1634, Ngawang Namgyal won a decisive victory in the Battle of Five Lamas uniting Bhutan into a single country for the first time in history.

Ngawang Namgyal died in 1651. Fearing that news of his death and arguments over his succession would plunge Bhutan back into a time of tribal warlords and undo his efforts to unite the country, the local governors kept his death a secret for 54 years, giving the excuse that he was on a long silent retreat.

Until the start of the 20th century, Bhutan was ruled under the Tibetan dual system of government led by the Zhabdrung - reincarnations of the mind, body and speech of Ngawang Namgyal. 

Translate this page