When a nation smiles

One of the most beautiful moments in human life is the miracle of birth. The cry of a newborn baby goes straight to the heart, as we see in the smile of a tired mother, relief of an anxious father, and the delight of the family, friends, and community.

The birth of the second Royal Child of His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Her Majesty Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema, at Lingkana Palace in Thimphu on March 19, raises a cheer from young Bhutanese while older members of the Bhutanese family express their joy with a “Chabsu Chhey” (acknowledging the blessings of the Triple Gem).

Our Prince comes like a ray of sunlight when Bhutan – in fact the world – is going through a dark period, struck by a disease which is bringing societies to a halt. The Coronavirus is creating havoc across the world, introducing a new level of distress and forcing a fundamental social change in human behaviour.

He comes as a reminder that the human existence can’t avoid suffering but there is always hope around the corner.

This year, we are at the beginning of a new lunar cycle. It means new beginnings. But we do not wait for things to happen; we strive to make them happen. It is comforting, therefore, even as we begin the year with major challenges, that His Majesty The King has been traveling across the southern breadth of the country, personally inspecting our preparedness along a long and porous border which is starkly vulnerable when threatened by a pandemic.

This is a good year to welcome our Prince. People born in the mouse year are believed have the knack of turning unlucky events into good fortune. They are also sensitive to other people’s emotions but firm when necessary and generally live contented and stable lives with a large circle of close friends. So the stars tell us that our Prince will be smart and a quick thinker, giving us the optimism, energy, alertness, delicacy, flexibility, vitality, and the enterprising spirit that we need today.

The mood around the birth of our Prince is not one of ostentatious revelry but of meaningful prayer and reverence. We perform sacred ceremonies to remove obstacles and to influence the causes and conditions that create an environment that is conducive to wellbeing and happiness.

In keeping with tradition, we celebrate the birth of our Prince with prayers being conducted around the country. Kurims are also being performed at sacred Buddhist sites in India and Nepal. Bhutanese teachers from all Buddhist traditions are performing prayers. Our Hindu community is conducting pujas (prayers) at the mandirs (Hindu temples). Bhutanese well-wishers are celebrating by offering prayers at home and at local lhakhangs.

Animals, birds, and fish are being saved from slaughter (tshethar), the protective energy of the environment is being recharged (sachu bumtar and luzay lomoen), prayer flags are being hoisted, lhakhangs and choetens are being constructed or renovated, the country’s sacred thongdrels are being unfurled. His Holiness the Je Khenpo is conferring a Sangay Menlha Wang which will be televised from 2pm, for all the people of Bhutan to join. The Zhung Dratshang will also conduct Namgay Tongchoed from March 21, for 3 days.

All this is important because our Prince will play an important role in his generation – our future. We come together, in prayer and in celebration of this auspicious birth, we are consciously pledging our unity. A stronger Royal Family means closer unity and more resilient identity.

The images of our Royal Family with the people at national and public events is a familiar sight. Whether we see His Majesty carrying Gyalsey Jigme Namgyel through maize fields or playing soccer with school children or just chatting with citizens around the country it is the atmosphere of an extended family. In four short years, His Royal Highness Gyalsey Jigme Namgyel, has traveled around the country and people have been able to greet him.

Their Majesties, and therefore the Bhutanese people, are in for an even more interesting family life. Gyalsey Jigme Namgyel now has a Royal sibling to play with and share the experience of growing up together, along with all other Bhutanese “brothers and sisters” around the country.

For now, we wish Their Majesties and His Royal Highness, as Yab, Yum, and Royal Acho – and our entire Royal family good health and happy moments together. And we wish the Royal children a happy childhood, an important time of life to be fully lived, and enjoyed.

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