The festive season is here. We start with the sacred Thimphu Dromchoe today. Then comes the Blessed Rainy Day, celebrated across the country. Looking around in the capital, there is excitement as people rush for last minute shopping. Meat has become dear, but it is a must as we prepare for picnics, even if indoors, this year.

The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted our lives. We have missed a lot of occasions. The festive season comes as a relief, not because of the holidays, but because of the significance.

Tshechus are an important event on the Bhutanese calendar. It is a sacred as well as a fun festival with a distinct Bhutanese flavour. This year, there will be no crowd or tourists at the tshechus. But the blessings, our respected Lopons say, will not diminish even if we watch the events on television, at home. Bhutanese come to tshechus for blessings as well as to enjoy the break from work. The only thing missing will be a chance to display our tshechu wear-kiras and ornaments.

We ardently believe taking bath on the Blessed Rainy day wash all our defilements, bad deeds and obstructions. Let’s all, as we take shower tomorrow morning, pray that the sanctified or the blessed water cleanse us and remove our obstructions. The biggest obstruction this year was the new coronavirus pandemic. It has left a mark already. Livelihoods are affected, businesses are ruined and the economy is in a bad state.

Thanks to the wise leadership of His Majesty The King, the hard work of the government and the thousands of people on the frontline, we have managed the pandemic well. The Blessed Rainy Day marks the end of monsoon, let it be the end of the disruptions the pandemic has caused.

We enter the last quarter of a troublesome year. We have to look forward with positivity to end the year on a high note. And we need the positive energy that our religious festivals bring. Not long ago, tshechus means a break to prepare for a fruitful end to the year.  It is harvest time in many parts of the country. Farmers look forward to the break and ready themselves  for the hard work ahead.

There is so much to do after the holidays. All attention has been diverted on Covid-19.  We have done well at that front and successfully prevented a full-blown community transmission without any fatalities. But we must return to work and return with a renewed sense. Life has to go on. The government needs to return to governing, business and industries should start opening, investments have to be made to generate work and employment. There is some sort of normalcy returning with children returning to schools, shops opening and people going back to work.

We can’t achieve in three months what we have lost in the last six. But after the holidays, we should return to work rejuvenated like the farmer who after the tshechu break is ready to toil until the harvest is secured. The responsibility is on us all. We need not be civil servants or corporate employees or in the private sector. The biggest contribution in a pandemic year is following the Covid-19 protocols, which we tend to forget, as life seems to return to normal. Another case of local transmission could derail all our plans and undo what we have achieved so far.

As we take part in the celebrations, let’s not forget that we have to live with the pandemic and our actions would determine how we get through this crisis.