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The most inauspicious of days on the Bhutanese calendar: Ngenpa Guzom
Observing Ngenpa Guzom 2006
Chamkhar valley, Bumthang
Jakar Dzong, Bumthang
What do you do on the most inauspicious of days on the Bhutanese calendar?

This year the day, known as Ngenpa Guzom (meeting of nine evils), falls on 27 December 2006, corresponding to seventh day of the 11 month of the Bhutanese calendar. It is a national holiday. It is believed that on this day there is no merit in performing any good deeds and if anyone should do anything sinful, the negative karmic effects will be multiplied. It is also believed that on this day people should not venture outdoors, leave on a journey or begin a new venture.

Ngenpa Guzom, is widely celebrated by the people of central and eastern regions, as a day to eat, feast, play archery and do nothing important in particular.

Like other festive occasions the demand for meat surges in the days before the most inauspicious day.

Thirty-seven year old Kinley Penjore, a Thimphu resident, borrowed money from friends to buy portions of beef, pork, chicken and fish days in advance for Ngenpa Guzom.

In Chamkhar valley, Bumthang, the pork supply had sold out by Monday. In Trashigangtown the meat supply ran out by midday.

"Since we believe that nothing good can be achieved on this day and no work should therefore be attempted, it is a good time to feast ourselves," said Sangay Lhazom, a corporate employee. According to Bhutanese astrologers the actual meeting of the nine evils started yesterday morning (26 December 2006) and ended in the morning on 27 December 2006.

Trashigang town
In western Bhutan, apart from considering the day very inauspicious, not much feasting is done. But there are strong held beliefs like the drey (traditional measure for grain) should not be touched on that day otherwise one could end up toughing the drey through the year meaning an emptying of the granary.

According to Dorji from Haa the Haaps new year celebrations which continue for a week normally ends on Ngenpa Guzom.

According to Bhutanese astrology, although there is an inauspicious day in every month the most inauspicious day falls on the 11th month of the Bhutanese calendar.

Legend

Legend has it that the demon couple of Pha Dorji Lokthreng and Ma Sasin Barma had one son and four daughters. The eldest brother, Rahula, and four sisters made a journey around a mountain known as the Ri Gyalpo Rirab. Half way through the journey they decided to take separate routes.

On the 7th day of the 11th month Rahula met his sister Drogsing (eldest among the sisters) but he did not know they were siblings. They had an incestuous relationship. The incestuous relationship led to the meeting of the nine evils.

Meanwhile, the nation will celebrate the Nyinlog (winter solstice) on 2 January 2007. Nyinlog literally means the return of the sun from the south and signals that the days will be longer and the nights will grow shorter.

The day is considered most auspicious because it is believed that good deeds done on this day will be rewarded with multiple merits. Most people celebrate this auspicious day by offering butter lamps and prayers in monasteries and temples.

Nyinlog usually falls in the first week of January coinciding with the new year of the Gregorian calendar.

This article was contributed by Rinzin Wangchuk, KUENSEL, Bhutan's National Newspaper, 2006

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