Friday, 20 November 2015

A Right Royal Celebration!

Wow, what a celebration!

 Hi, everybody! Your favourite corvid, Joe Crow (that's me!), is back again. I can't wait to tell you all about the exciting couple of weeks we've been having here in The Land Of The Thunder Dragon. So I'll get started!
The Fourth King's picture is on the left.
I don't think I've mentioned this before, but this year is a very special one in Bhutan. It marks the 60th birthday of the Fourth King of Bhutan. He might not be the king anymore, but the Fourth King is still very, very popular here. This is because he is seen as being responsible for many improvements in the lives of people in Bhutan. So, to say Kadrinche Miwong Chog (Thank You, Your Majesty), people all across the country have been partying, celebrating, singing, dancing, playing sports, organising competitions... and doing many, many other enjoyable things!

The young king in 1974.
The Fourth King of Bhutan, called Jigme Singye Wangchuck, was born in 1955. When he was still a prince he even went to school in England – at Oxford University! He became the world's youngest ever king in 1972, when he was just 17 years old. Wow... That's a lot of responsibility for a young man!

The thing that makes Jigme Singye Wangchuck so beloved by the people of Bhutan is how he helped change the country for the better. In 1972, there were very few roads in Bhutan. There were also no proper hospitals and less than ten schools. There were no phones, and no electricity in most of the country. Some places in Bhutan were so difficult to get to, you had to walk for several days through the forest. So many people barely left their villages. 

By the time he stopped being king, in 2006, the situation had changed completely. Now there were three big national hospitals and many smaller ones dotted across the country. Every child could go to school, for free, and most homes and villages were connected to an electricity supply. People were much less poor than they were before, and he even introduced the idea of voting for the government. Bhutan had managed to achieve all these things without damaging its beautiful forests and wildlife, and without hurting traditions. (See my blog about GNH for more information on this!) You can see why people want to Jigme Singye Wangchuck a happy birthday!
Happy birthday, your Majesty! (
The actual date of the Fourth King's birthday was November 11th. So on that day, and throughout that week, everyone in Bhutan joined in with the fun. You can see many of the pictures of what we got up to in Samey. The children of Samey P.S. had a great time with a Sports Day, dance competitions and a special march to show off how smart they look! My favourite part was sitting up in the trees and watching all the games and events going on across the school playing fields. I even saw Mr. MacInnes dancing to some traditional Bhutanese music! Ha ha! Shame I didn't have my camera with me...
We had a variety show evening to celebrate as well.


Perhaps the best moment for everyone present was when the current (fifth) King of Bhutan, who is Jigme Singye Wangchuck's son, announced in his speech to the country that he and his wife are expecting a baby! I'm sure that news was a very happy birthday present to his father.
Hope to see you again soon.
Your friend, Joe. :)

FUN FACT! The King of Bhutan is called Druk Gyalpo in Dzongkha.

ANOTHER FUN FACT! In Bhutan, 2015 is called the Wood Sheep Year!

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