Samtse Gears Up To Celebrate Bhutan’s 111th National Day In Style On 17 December
Samtse will be celebrating National Day for the fourth time – the first was in 1981, the second in 1991 and the third in 2002.
By Rajesh Rai | Kuensel
Dhan Kumari Ghalley, 56, of Allay village in Samtse is a nervous woman these days. She has been practising for a dance to celebrate Bhutan’s 111th National Day on 17 December.
In fact, Samtse will be celebrating National Day for the fourth time – the first was in 1981, the second in 1991 and the third in 2002.
How Samtse is preparing for the 111th National Day celebrations
The people from various communities in the dzongkhag are practising their traditional songs and dances for the big day. They are looking forward to the day with excitement.
“We have been practising everyday,” Dhan Kumari Ghalley said. “Never danced to a rigsar song before.”
Meanwhile, the preparations are in full swing to celebrate the National Day. Samtse looks more beautiful than ever, with every corner decorated with flowers and flags. An astro turf has been installed at the ground where the big day would be celebrated. The Dzongkhag administration has taken charge of the preparation projects.
A dzongkhag administration official, Suraj Gurung, said that the astro turf will be ready by 12 December. The dress rehearsals will also take place on the same day.
There will be mixed performances by students as well as members of the Film Association of Bhutan. Of the nine schools in Samtse that have prepared to participate in the celebration, Gomtu Middle Secondary School has been selected as the top performer and will perform on National Day.
Villagers from different communities such as the Lhop, Tamang, Limbu, Subba and Adhibassi in Samtse will also perform special dances to showcase their unique culture.
“We are organizing the program to create festive mood among the people for the grand National Day celebration here. Also, to strengthen ties among various communities. Except during our annual tshechu (festival), such events are rare in Samtse,” Chundu Tshering, the organiser, said.
The festival is expected to attract hundreds of people in and around the dzongkhag. Live concerts will be held in the evening where the country’s popular singers and artists will perform.
The President of Samtse College of Education, Rinchen Dorji, who is coordinating the cultural programmes, said that all programmes are ready.
“There are people who have never performed, but they are very much excited. People have participated owing to the significance of the great national event. Some got emotional and even cried during practise.”
Dignitaries who will be attending the 111th National Day celebrations in Samtse
Samtse dzongdag Sonam Wangyel said the 111th National Day is significant because of the number – 111.
People from the 15 gewogs in Samtse are looking forward to the day with excitement because they will be joined and blessed by all the members of the Royal Family.
“The people from Denchukha, Dumtoed and Dorokha are eagerly waiting to travel to Samtse to celebrate the significant day. We are happy to hear His Majesty and members of The Royal Family will be joining the celebration,” Kamala Acharja, a resident said.
He added: “The other reason why people are excited is because His Holiness the 70th Je Khenpho will also be there.”
Moreover, the number ‘111’ is also considered significant because this will be the fourth time the National Day would be celebrated in Samtse. The number was also linked to the third government after the introduction of democracy to the country.
Three-day food and fun festival at the Dhamdum Industrial Park
In the build-up to the 111th National Day celebration, a three-day food and fun festival began on 10 December. About 90 stalls, including food and entertainment have been set-up at the Dhamdum Industrial Park.
More than 20,000 people are expected to take part in the celebration of the day in Samtse. The dzongkhag administration has plans to provide free transportation to the people and food will also be arranged.
This article first appeared in kuensel and has been edited for the Daily Bhutan.