Ngenpa Gudzom is the most inauspicious day on the Bhutanese calendar
Ngenpa Gudzom literally means the meeting of the Nine Evils. (Ngenpa = Evil, Gu = Nine, Dzom = Meet)
Ngenpa Gudzom is considered the most inauspicious day on the Bhutanese Calendar. It is observed on the seventh day of the 11th month of the Bhutanese Calendar which falls on December 10, 2021.
In the past, Ngenpa Gudzom was a popular event and it was even considered a national holiday. However, that has stopped since 2007.
Aside from their daily works, people refrain from doing important work as they believe that everything you do will be futile and achieve no result on this particular day. On this day, it is believed that negative forces are strong and positive forces are at a low point.
In the eastern part of the country, the people observe Ngenpa Gudzom as a festival by eating, drinking and celebrating it with archery, doegor and khuru. Whereas, those residing in the western part also celebrate it with a khuru match. However, after the Ngenpa Gudzom stopped being a public holiday, the celebration also ceased.
The Story of Ngenpa Gudzom
Ngenpa Gudzom coincides with the day where the night is the longest in the year. This day is, however, based on the astronomical calculations relating to the Lunar Calendar and geomancy.
Ngenpa Gudzom is known as 'a day of many evils' as it is the period of the malicious earth spirit Nyima Nagchen and eight other malicious spirits. The belief of many types of earth spirits is believed to have originated from the traditions passed from ancient China.
Another story narrates about the incidents which occurred during the rise of the sentient beings in this world. Yadud Dorje, an Earth Spirit and his wife Sasrin Barma had five children consisting of four daughters and a son named Rahula. The siblings got separated at a young age but Rahula travelled around and met with one of his sisters later on. They had an incestuous relationship on the 7th Day of the 11th month because Rahula and the sister couldn’t recognize one another. Due to their relationship, the elements and the earth’s atmosphere was polluted which led to a great number of evil events.
Photo source: Tibetan Spirit
While it's known as the day of 'Nine Evils', the number 9 should not be read numerically as it's just symbolising a great number and abundant. Thus, the day is simply known as 'a day of abundant evils' or 'a day of many evils' as the better meaning of Ngenpa Gudzom.
The Celebration on Ngenpa Gudzom
Since the negative overpower the positive during the day, people often do not engage in any deeds, be it important or meritorious. It is a day where people relax and rest at home.
Some of the activities that are discouraged during Ngenpa Gudzom: building new monuments, consecrating, appeasing local deities, reciting religious texts, learning, handing and taking over properties, preaching, the appointment of new posts, shifting houses, entering a new house, starting a new business, marrying, celebrating, travelling long journeys and selling of land.
Bhutanese usually have a meal together and men spend their leisure time playing games.
However, as the saying goes “Where there is evil, there is good”, the day is followed by Zangpo Chudzom which literally means the Day of the Ten Good (Zangpo = Good, Chu = Ten, Dzom = Meet).
Even though the festive celebration of the day is declining and the day is no longer a national holiday, the older generations still observe this day and refrain from doing any work. The younger generations are also reminded of what should and should not be done during the day.
Ngenpa Gudzom is considered a day to be spent leisurely for the Bhutanese.
Since this day is the day of 'evil', one is not encouraged to see it as an opportunity to engage in misbehaviour.