Bhutan's 114th National Day

Art by: Kinzang Tshering (KinzArt)

17 December 2021

A national day is generally observed to celebrate the nationhood of a country. In Bhutan, we celebrate the National Day on 17 December to mark the ascension of Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuck to the Golden Throne as the first unanimously elected (through an official Genja which spelled out the King’s mandate) hereditary Monarch of Bhutan. The signing of the Genja effectively consolidated Bhutan as a sovereign nation-state.

One hundred and fourteen years down the line, our Kings continue to protect the country and her subjects, sacrificing personal comforts and the grand luxury that Kingship otherwise easily affords them. Our Monarchs have continued to redefine and deepen the principle of Dharma kingship, first expounded by the Buddha. As awakened Buddhist Kings, our Monarchs have consciously and consistently sought to uphold the Buddha’s idea of a decent human society, even in the face of such unforeseen events like the ongoing pandemic.

On this day, I sincerely call upon my fellow countrymen to spend a few moments reflecting on the sacrifices of our Kings. It would also do good to re-examine ourselves, introspect on our roles as citizens, and reimagine what civic roles we can play in our own small ways.

Let’s remember His Majesty’s wise counsel: “We must always stand united in spirit and purpose, we must always be one nation with one common goal.”

This is the ultimate message of the National Day.

Happy National Day to all my friends and countrymen!

by Gopilal Acharya