Winter Solstice in Bhutan in 2021

Winter Solstice in Bhutan in 2021
Dochula Pass, Bhutan. Image by Göran Höglund , via Flickr

  How long until Winter Solstice?
This holiday next takes place in 178 days.
  Dates of Winter Solstice in Bhutan
2022 Bhutan Sun, Jan 2 National Holiday
2021 Bhutan Sat, Jan 2 National Holiday
2020 Bhutan Thu, Jan 2 National Holiday
2019 Bhutan Wed, Jan 2 National Holiday
2018 Bhutan Tue, Jan 2 National Holiday
  Summary
In the Bhutanese calendar, this is the first day of Winter and the shortest day of the year.
  Local name
Nyilo
Related holidays

When is Winter Solstice?

Winter Solstice is a national holiday in the Kingdom of Bhutan on January 2nd each year.

Known as Nyilo, in the Bhutanese calendar, this is the first day of Winter and the shortest day of the year.

Traditions of Winter Solstice

Nyilo, according to the Bhutanese calendar based on Buddhist astrology, is the first day of winter and the shortest day after which the days start getting longer until the summer solstice. Of course, on an astronomical rather than an astrological basis, the Winter Solstice takes place on December 21st or December 22nd. In nearby China, the Winter Solstice is celebrated on Donghzi on the astronomical dates.

It is an ancient tradition observed as the new year of the people of Shar and Wang region in the western part of Bhutan. It is said to predate the arrival of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, who founded Bhutan in the early 17th century.

Nyilo literally means "the return of the sun". As with other new year's days around the world, Nyilo is an auspicious day on which past mistakes can be removed and the benefit of good deeds is multiplied. It is considered as a sacred day and everyone is discouraged from taking part in negative activities.

Traditionally on the eve of Nyilo, Children visit every home in their village, singing "Lolay" - ancient verses which basically wish a prosperous or good new year to the house, home and family of the people the children are visiting. In return, the head of the family gives the children gifts of rice, meat and other ingredients, with which they cook a sumptuous meal or go for a picnic the following day. It's a custom that children should be in odd numbers when visiting homes, as even numbers bring bad luck.

Each year children will visit the King and Queen of Bhutan and recite the Lolay verses for the Royal Couple.

All government offices and institutions around the country will remain closed on January 2nd to observe Nyilo. 

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