Be it the colours, the mood or the emotions, every day in the journey to December 17 is a National Day in Samtse.
The excited spectators who come to see the dress rehearsals show that the upcoming 111th National Day celebrations in Samtse is both historic and significant.
At the dress rehearsal yesterday, the cold winter sun could not keep Durga Gurung home. The 56-year-old former nurse had come to watch the rehearsals for the third day in a row.
“I am so happy,” she said, adding that the 111th National Day celebrations would be a unique one. “I am overjoyed and eagerly waiting for December 17.”
Samtse has rehearsed for the third day yesterday since the tendrelthang (dzongkhag football ground) was laid with the astroturf. The programmes have attracted many.
Students from across Samtse, teacher trainees of Samtse College of Education, and villagers from different communities of the 15 gewogs in the dzongkhag would perform a variety of cultural programmes.
Thuenpa puenzhi is one of the unique dance performances to look out for on December 17. About 222 students from Samtse College and schools, are performing the show.
In this performance, a raven first flies south to a heavenly place followed by a dragon boy. The four animals in the symbolic thuenpa puenzhi represent the four directions and people from the four directions join in. The dragon boy unites the people from the four directions and they dance in unity.
Performing arts director, Charmi Chheda, who is choreographing this dance said it is about unity, cooperation, and being one.
“The message is that to make Bhutan a heaven, all people have to be together,” she said.
Four different communities, the Lhops, Limbu, Tamang, and the Adivasis are also performing a dance on December 17. The community groups would showcase their unique cultural aspects through the dance. There is also a “happy dance” that would be performed by veteran lhothsampas from the 15 gewogs of Samtse.
Residents from the resettlement community are also presenting a dance in gratitude to the Kings.
The cultural coordinator and president of Samtse College, Rinchen Dorji, said he is happy and confident about the outcome of the practice and rehearsals.
“As they practiced in different grounds, they were not oriented initially in the tendrelthang,” he said, explaining that the performers have now picked up and learned the moves. “I am confident we will put up a good show.”
A 60-year-old woman from Norgaygang (Bara), Somati Gurung had also come to watch the rehearsals yesterday. It was her second day at the festival ground.
“I am overjoyed and I am eagerly waiting for the main day,” she said.
Somati is a kidney patient and is worried if she would get a seat to witness the celebrations on December 17. She would come prepared, she said.
People in Samtse are also in high spirits, as they would get to witness a National Day that would bring together His Majesty The King, His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo, and His Holiness the Je Khenpo. They are as excited that the National Day celebrations would bring Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen and the Gyalsey.
Tashi Penjor, a teacher in Samtse Lower Secondary School said the 111th National Day is significant day in Bhutanese history.
“We are going to see three most important figures of the country with yellow scarves in a National Day,” he said.
Another teacher, Mani Wangdi said the National Day this year would bless Samtse and its people with the presence of three Kings—the past, the present, and the future.
“I am waiting for the day since the beginning of the year,” he said. “We cannot ask for more.”
Sonam Dhendup, a monk said he couldn’t wait to witness the day.
“This event would be the biggest and the most essential one I would ever witness,” he said.
A zhana chamwould also be performed, Sonam Dhendup said.
Meanwhile, a nyagoe dendhur, strongman contest would also be conducted during the National Day. Unlike in the past, women would compete, and three women have been identified for the contest.
A tokha would also be hosted at the celebration, where more than 20,000 people are expected.
Rajesh Rai | Samtse