How the 111th National day was celebrated differently this year

With the spirits high like never before, and with emotions raw and pure at the sight of national flag fluttering in the air, the 111th national day this year at Samtse was unique in every aspect and set a new benchmark for other Dzongkhags in the future.

The entrance of His Royal Highness the Gyalsey, trying to synchronize the steps of His Majesty the King by springing forth to keep with his father’s pace totally melted the spectators with His Highness’ charm and grace.

Samtse Dzongdag Sonam Wangyel said, “I believe the program was a successful one because we spent more time on planning which made it easier to implement the ideas. This year’s national day was special because we are celebrating hundred and eleventh (111) years and we wanted it to make it special.”

“The national day was witnessed by around 35,000 people in Samtse which I believe is the largest number till date,” said the Dzongda.

Pre-celebration Festival:

Food, Fun and Fair festival was held before the big day. The three-day festival was organized near the riverside in Samtse as a run-up program for the national day. “The main motive of the festival was to set the people into celebratory mode,” said Dzongdag Sonam Wangyel.

“People must realize that it’s not just a celebration but the day to awaken a sense of patriotism.”

Chopper showering flowers and displaying national flag:

Around 27 buckets of ‘tsampakha meto’ was showered from above the ground from a chopper and another chopper displayed the national flag as it made rounds of the celebration ground.

“Such display overwhelmed me with immense feeling that I couldn’t stop from holding back my tears,” said Passang Tshering, the founder of Bhutan Toilet Organization.

The Royal Bhutan Helicopter volunteered to implement the idea.

Women ‘Ngagoe’ for the first time:

Another never seen before is the women ‘Ngagoe’ program. Each woman from 15 gewogs in Samtse participated for the competition. The idea was initiated to give an equal platform to women. “This promotes girl power in the country and I wish similar program to be replicated everywhere henceforth,” said Doom toed gewog gup, Damber Singh Rai.

Display of LED screen:

Two huge LED screen on the celebration ground displaying a live telecast of the national event was something the crowd has never seen before. The LED screen was 40 by 20 feet.

Another medium sized LED screen was placed at the basketball court of the school ground located behind the celebration ground. “The idea to place the LED screen is to assure that none of the spectators miss a single moment of the event” said the Samtse Dzongdag.

Firework display in the evening:

The firework display started at 7 pm along with the culture program by Bhutan Film Association (BFA) the same day. The firework display went on for 20 minutes that left the crowd mesmerized.

Synchronized drill by police women:

This year’s national day showcased a synchronized drill by 30 police women constable, which again marked the first of a kind.

The synchronized drill was to showcase the coordination and discipline. The day was very special for everyone because it was attended by the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, His Majesty the King, HRH The Gyalsey, members of the royal familty and the Je Khenpo, an official from RBP said.

This drill was performed by the male constables in the past. However, this is first time done by the lady constable, said an official.

Through this, they wanted to showcase the capability of the lady police, he said, adding that they also wanted show and assure the people that women are equal to men. It took about one and a half months of practice.

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