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National Day 2007 - Celebrations

The Bhutanese population came together to celebrate National Day with grand festivities organised in all the 20 dzongkhags. The royal family made a special gesture in reaching out to the people in remote corners of the country. Their Royal Highnesses the Princes and Princesses celebrated National Day with the people in Gasa, Dagana, Tsirang, Sarpang, Mongar, Bumthang, and Punakha. Formally addressing the people, Their Royal Highnesses expressed their dedication to His Majesty the King and their complete support for the royal aspirations for Bhutan's future.

For people around the country, the royal family remained a focus of the National Day celebrations. People walked long distances to meet Their Royal Highnesses, who had come to their dzongkhags as special representatives of His Majesty the King.

His Majesty Jigme Kheasar Namgyel in Thimphu
the 5th Druk Gyalpo, HM Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck
and the 4th Gyalpo, HM Jigme Singye Wangchuck
It was with deep appreciation that the people of Bhutan looked back at the past 100 years as the kingdom celebrated the 100th National Day on December 17, 2007. People around the country were moved when His Majesty King Jigme Khesar offered a traditional bow to His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo, symbolising the people's appreciation for the past and their solemn pledge for the future.

In Thimphu, many people said they were inspired by His Majesty the King's address and his vision for the future. The people listened intently as His Majesty the King outlined responsibilities for different sections of society. "His Majesty's presence will be critical for the success of our democracy," said a senior civil servant. "We must take his command as a tool to guide us towards establishing a vibrant democracy."

The ambassador of India to Bhutan, Mr Sudhir Vyas, said that he believed Bhutan was entering perhaps the most important year in its modern history. "The country will witness not only the centenary of the Bhutanese Monarchy but also the formal Coronation of His Majesty as the fifth Druk Gyalpo with transition to democratic governance," he said. "The historic importance of the occasion was evident this morning on the faces of the people as His Majesty addressed them."

"I really felt the enormity of the day and the significance of what was going to happen in the coming year," said the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations agencies in Bhutan, Mr Nicholas Rosellini. "His Majesty referred a lot to the responsibilities of the people to make democracy work. It's now important for the people to take this responsibility seriously."

The most emotional moment of the celebrations for all the people came when the fourth Druk Gyalpo, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, received His Majesty the King, Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck, at the celebrations in Thimphu and Their Majesties greeted each other with their Royal Scarves lowered in the traditional gesture of respect.

It was also with profound hope that people around the country reflected on the next 100 years and celebrated the coming of a new era. Inspired by the concept of GNH, His Majesty Jigme Khesar is seen as the continuation of the wise leadership that aims to set standards, by example, for other nations.

"Our young Monarch is both visionary in his understanding of the goals of GNH and practical in his understanding of the vitally central role of education in our future as a nation, education both in skills and in culture," said a Bhutanese citizen, who hoisted a national flag at his residence in California on National Day.

Ashi Dechen Yangzom Wangchuck in Mongar

A student of Mongar higher secondary school, Sangay, said that he was extremely fortunate to have received a free education. He now had the opportunity and the ability to serve the Tsa-Wa-Sum.

Ashi Sonam Dechan Wangchuck in Punakha

Chencho Wangmo, a farmer in Punakha, said that, at a time when people were all talking politics, National Day was an opportunity to remember the services of Bhutan's Kings and to pray for the future of the Monarchy.

Dasho Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in Gasa

In Gasa, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, herders, farmers, and students gathered to celebrate National Day. "On this great day, I pray for a long reign by the new Druk Gyalpo," said Tshering Dorji, a Class VII student from Bjishong. "We know that he'll bring peace and happiness."

Ashi Kesang Choden Wangchuck in Bumthang

In Bumthang, Kunzang, 73, believes that Bhutan's forefathers, who sealed the historic Genja on December 17, 1907, would be proud of their decision. "Let us remember those men for giving us this legacy," he said. "It was them who elected a great Monarch, whose dynamic offsprings have ensured the happiness of the Bhutanese people."

Ashi Chimi Yangzom Wangchuck in Tsirang

The people of Tsirang gathered early for the celebrations. "I came to think about the golden period of our Monarchy," said Dhanmang Tamang, 65, of Shemjong gewog. "I hope that our Kings will rule forever."

Dasho Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck in Sarpang

In Sarpang, Pushpala Kandal, 50, who walked 25 kilometres from Drajeytang, said that she had come to pray for the unity and happiness of the people under the reign of His Majesty the King.

Dasho Khamsum Singye Wangchuck in Dagana

In Dagana 18-year old Pasang Lham of Drugaygang middle secondary school said that students in remote schools were blessed to meet the royal family. According to Dorjimo, 73, of Chumey, she attended the National Day celebrations only because the people were able to meet their royal family

This article was contributed by Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper, 2007.

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National Day 2007: Members of the Royal Family
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