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Monday, October 21, 2013

Moon is sometimes NOT 'daw' in Dzongkha

 remember the time in Kindergarten when I was taught that the equivalent term for the 'moon' in Dzongkha is 'Daw". Since then, after being a teacher, I sang a song with that same old lyric to teach my children.
However, I experienced a wild kind of suffocation inside the prison of a hard mystery today, realizing the same song I sang some time ago. This mystery has parked me helplessly on my chair to the mercy of some hours to mull over.  
The mystery unsolved hitherto, was like restoring carbon produced from the charcoal of misconception that would further blacken and besmirch my teaching. It was like a thorn in my thought that kept on prickling. 
The mystery is nothing typical that can draw the hairs of human attention. But to me, it sounded something as clear misunderstanding.
Almost in every page of publications, through my lens of understanding I read the ‘moon’ as “daw’ in our language. But it's only today that I realized this same word (which it might have its own nature of explanation) proclaiming a different meaning to me.
The way it is referred to in the weekdays sounds rather challenged. If the moon is still believed as ‘Daw’, then it shouldn’t be Sunday that gets the name ‘gza daw’  (གཟའ་ཟླ་བ་). The Sunday should instead be named as ‘gza nyim’  (གཟའ་ཉི་མ་) if the literal meanings of the sun for ‘Nyim’  and moon for ‘daw’  has to be retained
The same Monday with different names
In a Tibetan calendar, they also use moon for ‘daw’ and that’s why they have ‘gza daw’  (གཟའ་ཟླ་བ་) on Monday. Monday is actually believed to have derived from an Old English term known as Monenday, meaning ‘Moon Day’. Tibetan calendar portrays Sunday as gza nyim’  (གཟའ་ཉི་མ་) because it has an astrological meanings with the object like sun. The nature of the calendar is lunisolar that it signifies both the phase of moon and the time of the solar year.
But, since I was characteristically fed with a pure Bhutanese meal of understanding, now I can detect a weak muscle in my tongue to taste the other way. I like speaking in its own way. And I say it because that’s the charm in being Bhutanese. 


  1. Nice post la. Thoroughly enjoyed.

  2. Thank you sir. You are often the first besides being a regular visitor in almost all blogs. Your words keep me moving. Thank you fro visiting my page.

  3. Replies
    1. Sonam sir,

      This has already confused me. While teaching my children, I have to expect the unexpected. I wrote this in a hope that somebody can rescue me explaining the mystery.
      Thank you for visiting my page. You are one life line that keeps me hang around the blog.

    2. indeed sir...i hope you would make simpler than this for your students.., and thanks for considering me as a lifeline for your blog...:)

  4. That was some information, Dumcho sir. Enjoyed reading it. You have a peculiar style of writing. Amongst the bloggers, yours is the most spiced style. You rarely frame a sentence directly. I am not saying anything bad about it, by the way. I am just pointing out the peculiarity. Keep writing. :)

    1. Langa sir,
      Thank you for the comments. Your feedbacks are always welcome. It is the kind of educational prescription advised by the literary experts in restoring the health of one's writing. I am afraid whether I make some sense to the readers, who passes by.
      Thank you visiting it.

  5. Its indeed a food for thought!, never realized as such. it is also confusing though. Nice post any way..

    1. Thank you Mr.Tshewang for the comments. Sometimes, the smallest things that we leave unattended leads to a sheer confusion in understanding it.
      Thank you for visiting my page.

  6. I have read so many articles about the blogger lovers however this post is in fact a pleasant paragraph, keep it up.

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  7. I am not native speaker of Dzongkha, just a Western scholar of Classical Tibetan. I have learned the days of the week according to Tibetan system, but just today I realized that there is also a Bhutanese way. In the morning I saw a Bhutanese calender and noticed the difference. At first I thought it must be a mistake, but now I have found more information, including this web page, and learned something new. Still I am wondering what is the reason of this difference.

    1. Dear PL,
      Thank you for reading my post. I will try to find out the difference and let you know. Thank you so much.



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