As we see the stubborn Sheep off and welcome the clever Monkey, we look back on the journey that we have made so far as a nation. At the same time, we look ahead with great hopes and aspirations.

We are leaving behind a year that gave us so much to remember. For a nation that has chosen to tread paths on its own pace, what it was able to achieve in just a year is indeed astonishing. The great successes that we accomplished together weave into the general narrative of this country that we will remember them fondly as we sail through the events of the new year.

The year of the Wood Female Sheep was a year of celebration for Bhutan and the Bhutanese. It was a year when we paused and reflected on the milestones we have covered since the day we elected Sir Ugyen Wangchuck as the first hereditary monarch in 1907 at the Great Palace of Bliss. From a nation that was idly basking in the cloistered security of the medieval peace, Bhutan has come a long way. The year gone by was a year when we celebrated our march to progress.

In particular, the year of the Wood Female Sheep was the year when we celebrated the life and reign of the monarch extraordinaire, our guiding light and source of inspiration – Drukgyal Zhipa. In the age when whoever does anything worthy of notice is hailed as a hero, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck is truly deserving of all the accolades and tributes there is for His people to offer. Bhutan is what it is today, proud and secure, confident and forward-looking, all thanks to the Great Fourth.

The year of the resolute Sheep was a very special year that Bhutanese of this generation will remember forever. The birth of His Royal Highness The Gyalsey gave the Bhutanese joy and happiness they had never known. The significance of Gyalsey’s birth is one of continuity. The unparalleled wisdom and sagacity of the Wangchuck Dynasty will continue to guide the future of this bold and progressive nation.

As we step into the new frontier, the shrewd and nimble Monkey offers us so much promise and opportunities. However, we must not forget that there are also not-so-rosy predictions that we might have to countenance along the way. But then, what adversities have Bhutanese resilience, valour and compassion not overcome?

We welcome The Fire Male Monkey Year with prayers and good wishes to all.