Phurpa Lhamo | Punakha

The 113th National Day in Punakha will celebrate the great leadership of the Due Sum (three eras—past, present and the future), with special focus on the forces, which took efforts in securing our nation.

Of the many programmes, which have been prerecorded would be telecast on the day, Royal Academy of Performing Arts’ (RAPA) 45-minute dance drama highlights the achievements of Zhabdrung and the monarchs of Bhutan.

RAPA’s creative director Charmi Chheda said that the dance drama tells stories of how the great leaders inspired people to come forward and fight for their country. “We are here to tell the story of the Due Sum, which is timely and epic at the same time. I think Covid-19 has made the celebration only bigger—it’s even more important to tell the story now.”

In the tales of the great leadership, the dance drama narrates of pazaps, baegarps, the Royal Bhutan Army, and the De-Suung, who in different forms, serve the nation.

Preparation began a month ago. With 11 RAPA members, participants were selected from schools, DeSuung and gewogs in Punakha.

The programme also features the song Drukgye Shogdro by M-Studio. “We hired a music composer and he prepared the whole 45-minutes, as per what we wanted. We had a team who was also part of composing—the old songs were also composed in a new way—so everything sounds fresh and new,” Charmi Chheda said.

Amid the global pandemic, strict physical distancing, face masks, and use of Druk Trace app were followed.

“We didn’t mix groups, even when they are performing,” Charmi Chheda said.

Unlike the past, this year’s celebration will be held inside the Punakha dzong.

Not more than 1,000 people including guests, participants and security personnel would be allowed at the venue.

While the celebration is closed to public, participation would be like never before, said National Day Celebration Committee chairperson and Nangsid Lyonpo Sherab Gyeltshen. 

Programmes prepared by Bhutanese outside and within have been prerecorded. Lottery draws are also enabling, so that the people across Bhutan can participate in the celebration.

Nangsid Lyonpo said that on the day, Bhutanese should reflect on how blessed and beloved Bhutan and its people have been under the leadership of various religious figures and the monarchs.

“On the day, I hope people remember this. I wish them all Tashi Delek,” he said.

In the dzong, guests are expected to be seated by 8:30am. Following the live telecast of His Majesty’s speech, the prerecorded progammes would be telecast. Speeches made by His Majesties in the past National Day celebrations and footages from the times of the past Kings have also been compiled for telecast.

The Nangsid Lyonpo said while people from Punakha might feel disheartened that they couldn’t witness the day, they could be part of the celebration by watching the programmes. “A daylong progamme would be telecast for public.”

While crowding is discouraged in other dzongkhags, hoisting of flag, recitation of prayers and live viewing of His Majesty’s speech would be held in the kuenrays of the respective dzongs by officials.