Bhutan celebrated its 106th National Day on December 17, 2013 with pride and admiration, the day being a commemoration of the rich history and tradition of Bhutan as a nation. The day, he said also marked the unity of Bhutanese people and National Day proffered for celebration of both the country and its people with their Kings.
His Majesty The King Jigme Singye Wangchuk in his address during last year's celebrations of the National day, said that, "...this National Day is of special significance. The powers offered by our People to the King in 1907 were, after hundred years of nation building, returned in 2008 to our People by the Druk Gyalpo. It was in that year that we held the first elections under democracy and adopted the Constitution. Today we are nearing the end of the term of the first Parliament we elected in 2008 and the culmination of the tenth and largest 5-year plan."
He also gave recognition to the citizens, saying that "yet, with capable and dedicated citizens who have great love for our country; with the guidance of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo and; with the ever-stronger bonds between People and King, I have great confidence that we shall achieve our goals."
History of the celebrations
Historians like Dr. Karma Phuntsho said December 17 was a major milestone in Bhutanese history, as it marked a new era, an era where the country's many chieftains and feudal lords accepted Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck as the most powerful of leaders in the country and proclaimed him to be the first King.
In his book, The History of Bhutan Dr. Karma Phuntsho explained it was on the 13th day of the 11th month of the Bhutanese calendar that a King was crowned. "It was a day of auspicious astrological conjunction and the event took place in Punakha, which was the capital then," he wrote. "December 17 was an incidental date, as the 13th day of 11th month in 1907 fell on that day."
Home Secretary Tshering Dorji said although people knew the significance of the day many stayed at home because of which a variety of cultural programs and games were organized to gather people.
Like last year, he said entertainment programs were woven in with cultural ones. "There will be a lucky draw for people to win prizes like televisions, statues, bicycles and smartphones," he said. "Yangphel will sponsor four bicycles, Bhutan Telecom three smart-phones and we are looking for more sponsors."
These efforts for enticing people to gather, Dasho Sangay Wangchuk said, is a must for people to remember, show unity, cooperation and coordination just as the forefathers did in the beginning. "Otherwise Bhutanese will forget the significance of the day," he said. Dr. Karma Phuntsho said educating the public on the significance of the event was important.
Dasho Passang Wangdi agreed and said although the celebrations grew more grand and livelier over the years, only a few knew the significance of day. "People should remember how the day was one of peace, stability and progress in the country," he said.