Dhan Kumari Ghalley, 56, of Allay village in Samtse is a nervous woman these days. She is practising a rigsar dance for the 111th National Day celebration on December 17.
Samtse will be celebrating the National Day for the fourth time – the first was in 1981, the second in 1991 and the third in 2002.
“We are practising everyday,” Dhan Kumari Ghalley said. “Never danced to a rigsar song before.”
The preparations for the National Day are in full swing. An astro turf is installed at the ground where the big day would be celebrated. Dzongkhag administration has taken the charge of the preparation projects.
A dzongkhag administration official, Suraj Gurung, said the astro turf would be ready by December 12. “The dress rehearsals will happen that day.”
There will be mixed performances by students, villagers from different communities, and by the members of the Film Association of Bhutan.
President of Samtse College of Education, Rinchen Dorji, who is coordinating the cultural programmes, said all programmes were ready. “There are people who have never performed, but they are very much excited. People have participated owing to the significance of the great national event. Some got emotional and cried during practise.”
Dalli Gurung, 50, who is in the veteran dance group, said she was excited. “We will get to see our Kings and the Royal Family.”
Villagers from different communities such as the Lhop, Tamang, Limbu, Subba, and Adhibassi in Samtse will perform a special dance to showcase their unique culture.
Of the nine schools in Samtse that prepared to participate in the celebration, Gomtu Middle Secondary School has been selected as the top performer and will perform on the National Day.
Samtse dzongdag Sonam Wangyel said the 111th National Day is significant because of the number – 111. “People from 15 gewogs in Samtse are looking forward to the day with excitement because they will be joined and blessed by all the members of the Royal Family.”
He added: “The other reason why people are excited is because His Holiness the 70th Je Khenpho will also be there.”
111 is considered significant because this will be the fourth time the National Day would be celebrated in Samtse. “It is also very significant because His Majesty The King, The Gyaltsuen, and the Gyalsey would be there,” the dzongdag said.
He also said the 111 was also linked to the third government after the introduction of democracy in the country.
More than 20,000 people are expected to take part in the celebration of the day in Samtse.
The dzongkhag administration has plans to provide free transportation to the people. Food would also be arranged.
In the build up to the day, the dzongkhag administration has already started a three-day food, fun, and fair festival at the Dhamdum Industrial Park. More than 50 stalls have been set up.
Rajesh Rai | Samtse