Why do the Bhutanese Names of the Days of the Week differ from that of the Tibetan?

Why do the Bhutanese Names of the Days of the Week differ from that of the Tibetan?

Bhuchung K. Tsering

 

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Let us talk about the days of the week now, specifically as Tibetans and Bhutanese refer to them. The reason why I am saying this is because of an interesting difference. Let me preface this by saying that in general, Bhutanese, Tibetans and, for that matter, many communities in the Himalayan region share a similar culture. Therefore, while Tibetans, Ladakhis, Sikkimese, etc., have the same names for the days of week, in the Bhutanese case, even though the names themselves are the same, they refer to days different to ours.

Overall, our culture follows a lunisolar calendar with the calculations involving both the sun and the moon. Then, similar to the ancient Greek and Hindu systems (the Chinese used to have a ten-day week and switched to a seven-day week in the seventh century, but refer to the days by number only), we have a system of naming the days after the Sun, the moon, and some planets. These are ཉི་མ། Sun (Sunday) Nyima; ཟླ་བ། Moon (Monday) Dawa; མིག་དམར། Mars (Tuesday) Migmar; ལྷག་པ། Mercury (Wednesday) Lhakpa; ཕུར་བུ། Jupiter (Thursday) Phurbu; པ་སངས། Venus (Friday) Passang; and སྤེན་པ། Saturn (Saturday) Penpa. Also, even the term for the day (གཟའ་) is the same one for a planet.

Our cultural brethren in the Indian and Nepalese Himalaya region as well as Mongolia (classical tradition) follow the above system of naming the days of the week.

However, in the case of Bhutan, I notice that “Sun” day begins on Saturday and moves on to the rest of the week. Accordingly, as can be seen from the above calendar, the Bhutanese days of the week are: ཟླ་བ། (Sunday) Dawa; མིག་དམར། (Monday) Migmar; ལྷག་པ། (Tuesday) Lhakpa; ཕུར་བུ། (Wednesday) Phurbu; པ་སངས། (Thursday) Passang; སྤེན་པ། Venus (Friday) Penpa; and ཉི་མ། (Saturday) Nyima.

Therefore, I wonder what is the origin for this Bhutanese system of naming days of the week like this!

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2 thoughts on “Why do the Bhutanese Names of the Days of the Week differ from that of the Tibetan?

  1. once the head of state(Bhutan) asked his minister to come up with names of days(གཟའ་) within a specific time,it was too difficult for the minister to give appropriate names for 7 days in this short time and had to fulfill it any cost, So, he cleverly presented the days with a minor change in the calendar to the majesty starting with ཟླ་བ། instead of ཉི་མ།…
    that’s how the Bhutanese day starts with ཟླ་བ། (Sunday) , followed by Dawa; མིག་དམར། (Monday) Migmar; ལྷག་པ། (Tuesday) Lhakpa; ཕུར་བུ། (Wednesday) Phurbu; པ་སངས། (Thursday) Passang; སྤེན་པ། Venus (Friday) Penpa; and ཉི་མ། (Saturday) Nyima…

    i came to know about this from a Bhutanese friend of mine.May be true or may not be..

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