National Day Celebrations brings cheer and hope to the people

Thimphu is filled with much excitement these days, and it is due to the buzz of 115th National Day festivities in the capital. Most people ask, “Have you registered for the National Day celebrations? I’m so excited to go.” Those who were not able to use the Bhutan App, had their children or relatives register them online for a seat at the Changlimithang National Stadium, the main venue of the National Day celebration this year. 

With fluttering flags and balloons carries the excitement and wishes of the nation, and at night, the festive lights bring in hope with the illumination in the dark.

Giddy families warmly dressed in mufflers and jackets sharing coffees bought from the food stalls nearby in the Centenary Park, and young people getting excited for the entertainment shows, perfectly describes this year’s National Day celebration.

The conversations regarding the celebration floats, and the cold winter season is filled with warmth and merriness from the festivities. According to Sonam, she is very excited, as it is the first time she will attend such an important event after the pandemic. “It is very exciting; everyone is excited about it. This year celebration is very different and grand, so many programs and events have been initiated, and I believe it is the grandest celebration I’ve seen.”

Sonam added, “Every year, I tried to attend but I couldn’t because of the crowd. The Bhutan App initiative has made me very happy as I will be able to attend, and it will convenient for elders too. I will be taking my grandma with me, and as I have the entrance ticket, my grandma won’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to secure a seat.  We are so excited.”

This year’s celebration focuses on technology, youth and entrepreneurship. The celebration started from 5 December with the DHI InnoTech Interactive Exhibition for a week, which featured the tech hack challenge and entrepreneurial challenge.

Talking to the Minister for Home and Cultural Affairs, who serves as the Chair of the National Day Committee, Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji shared that many people turned up and the festivities are successful.

The 2nd week of festivities started from 10 December at the Centenary Park in Changlimithang where CSI products were displayed with food from 20 dzongkhags, tech displays and reality shows and entertainment filling up the celebrations.

Lyonpo Ugyen said that the festivities was to share a larger meaning with the public. “On a metaphorical and a symbolic level, when you enter the gate of the Centenary Park, you should get the feeling of entering into the future of the country, the future of the economy. Because that is where the economy starts, and that is how an economy should look like at a rudimentary level, at least in terms of composition. There should be fun, luxury, prosperity, money, talent and innovation, and that is what we are depicting at a larger level.”

This year’s celebration brings in new aspects to the celebration, an online registration system, which incorporates the focus of the celebration, technology. A TikTok challenge, which has youth and celebrities jumping to the challenge. According to Lyonpo, almost 300 videos posted on TikTok featured the National Day challenge.

Lyonpo also mentioned that although the focus is on technology, youth and entrepreneurship, the theme is not the mentioned aspects. “We can only know the theme from His Majesty’s Address to the Nation, but what we are focusing on is not entirely off-track. If you listen to His Majesty’s Addresses of the past two years, you will consistently see His Majesty repeatedly talk about youth, economic growth, the need for reskill and upskill, and raising human capital. In line with His Majesty’s highlights on past addresses, we thought it appropriate to remind ourselves by way of organizing these activities.”

“All the displays of innovation and creation of our people and hearing the successes of the Super Fab Lab workshops and all, as a Bhutanese, I feel so proud. It feels like we are progressing as a nation and also on individual levels. To see such progression, it is really a heartwarming and a proud moment for  Bhutanese as we have been emphasizing growth and reforms. It is exhilarating,” shared Pema, a person enjoying the festivities. 

According to an office worker, Deki Lhadon, such festivities cheer her up after a hard day at work. “The decorations are amazing, and there are so many festivities and concerts. The feel and view is very festive and merry, and after hours of work at office, it feels nice to see the celebrations. I saw our people doing the TikTok challenges, and it was so nice to see our people dressed up and doing dances. I feel that people are really hyped with the celebrations. Also, people are getting platforms to showcase their talents and a chance to gather, to spend time with family and friends. These festivities feel heartwarming, I feel proud to be part of such historical moments,” she added.

17 December is a significant date in Bhutanese history. The first King of Bhutan, Druk Gyalpo Ugyen Wangchuck, was crowned on this day in 1907. On this date, the Hereditary Monarchy was established with the Wangchuck Dynasty.

Today, December 17, is observed as an important national holiday. The entire country celebrates the momentous occasion with a big celebration. The observance of this day helps to remind the people of the tremendous sacrifices made by the nation’s benevolent founders, who worked diligently for the welfare of the nation and its citizens. The day gives the nation’s citizens a chance to thank the honorable forefathers that gifted us a strong sovereign nation.

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