The National Emblem of Bhutan is a circle that projects double diamond thunderbolt, placed above the lotus. There is a jewel on all sides with two dragons on vertical sides. The thunderbolt represents harmony between secular and religious power while the lotus symbolizes purity. The jewel signifies sovereign power while the dragons (male and female) stands for name of the country Druk yul or the Land of the Dragon.
The National flag is rectangle in shape that is divided into two parts diagonally. The upper yellow half signifies secular power and authority of the king, while the lower saffron-orange symbolizes the practice of religion and power of Buddhism, manifested in the tradition of Drukpa Kagyu. The dragon signifies name and purity of the country, while jewels in its claws stand for the wealth and perfection of the country.
The national flower is Blue Poppy (Meconopsis Grandis). It is a delicate blue or purple tinged blossom with a white filament. It grows to a height of 1 meter on the rocky mountain terrain found above the tree line of 3500-4500 meters. It was discovered in 1933 by a British Botanist, George Sherriff in a remote part of Sakteng in eastern Bhutan.
The national tree is cypress (Cupressus torolusa). Cypresses are found in abundance and one may notice big cypresses near temples and monasteries. Cypress is found in the temperate climate zone, between 1800 and 3500 meters. Its capacity to survive on rugged harsh terrain is compared to bravery and simplicity.
The national bird is raven. It ornaments the royal crown. Raven represents deity Gonpo Jarodongchen (raven headed Mahakala) one of the chief guardian deities of Bhutan.
The national animal is the Takin (burdorcas taxicolor) that is associated with religious history and mythology. It is a very rare mammal with a thick neck and short muscular legs. It lives in groups and is found in places above 4000 meters altitude, on the north-western and far north eastern parts of the country. They feed on bamboos. The adult takin can weigh over 200 kgs.
Bhutan is a multi-lingual society. Today about 18 languages and dialects are spoken all over the country. The state language is Dzongkha which in the olden days was spoken by people who worked in the Dzongs that was the seat of temporal and spiritual power. Later, Dzongkha was introduced as national language of Bhutan.
The national anthem was first composed in 1953 and became official in 1966. It is known as Druk Tshenden Kepay Gyalkhab Na (In the land of the Dragon Kingdom, where cypress grows).
17th December is celebrated as National Day of the country that coincides with crowning ceremony of Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuck as the first hereditary king of Bhutan in Punakha Dzong on 17 December 1907. It is a national holiday, every Bhutanese celebrate the day with pomp and festivity throughout the country.
Bhutan is a multi-lingual society. There are 19 different languages and dialects spoken in the country. Dzongkha, meaning the language of the fort, is the national language of Bhutan. It is widely spoken in the western region.
Ema Datshi, a chili and cheese stew, is Bhutan’s national dish. Bhutanese either use dried red chilies or green chilies to make this dish. It is very simple and fast to cook.
Changlimithang Stadium in Thimphu serves as the National Stadium. It is mostly used to celebrate national events, football and archery games. It was built in 1974 and refurbished in 2007. It can accommodate up to 25,000 people.
The Ta-dzong in Paro which was established in 1968 is the National Museum of Bhutan. It houses extensive collections of over 3,000 works of Bhutanese art covering more than 1,500 years of Bhutan’s cultural heritage.
National development philosophy
Bhutan believes in the philosophy of Gross National Happiness. Sustainable development and happiness are emphasized more than Gross Domestic Product. Each and every policy of Bhutan first has to go through a checklist that qualifies it to be passed as a Gross National Happiness policy.