National Symbols

Everywhere in the country, you’ll find Bhutan’s mythology expressed in many different ways. Most striking is the name its inhabitants have for the kingdom, Druk Yul, literally meaning ‘land of the thunder dragon’ in Bhutanese mythology. You find the fierce white dragon in the national flag and weapon; and during the Tsechus – Bhutan’s most important festivals – there are many expressions of and references to the dragon. Even Bhutan’s leaders are known as the Druk Gyalpo: the dragon kings.

Every part of Bhutan’s national flag is symbolic for the country’s general features. Divided diagonally, the flag has a white dragon across the middle. The white color is not only an expression of purity and loyalty, it also represents the diverse ethnic and linguistic groups. The dragon’s growling mouth, which is an expression of the strength of many deities, protects the jewels, which are hold in his paws. These jewels represent prosperity, wealth and perfection. The upper yellow part of the flag represents the king’s secular power and fruitful action in both religious and state affairs. The lower orange part represents the spiritual power and religious practice of Bhutan’s Mahayana (tantric) Buddhist religion.

Bhutan also holds a national emblem. A double diamond thunderbolt (dorje) placed above a lotus, is framed by two dragons and overcome by a jewel. The harmony between religious and secular power is symbolized by the double diamond thunderbolt. The lotus symbolizes purity, and sovereign power is expressed by the jewel. Finally, the male and female dragons represent Bhutan’s name, being proclaimed with their great voice of thunder (Druk Yul). The national emblem is contained in a circle.

On December 17th, National Day is celebrated. It is reminiscent of the ascension to the throne of Bhutan’s first king Ugyen Wangchuck in 1907.