It’s a very happy holiday for Bhutan’s littlest royal, the 1-year-old Dragon Prince.
As most residents of the tiny Himalayan kingdom, situated between Tibet and India, are Buddhists, Christmas doesn’t loom large on their calendar. But the Bhutanese people have another reason to celebrate come December: Their annual National Day on December 17 — and the Dragon Prince got a special gift to celebrate.
In honor of the holiday, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, 37, his wife Queen Jetsun Pema, 27, and their 1-year old baby son, Crown Prince Jigme, traveled to Western Bhutan’s picturesque Haa Valley to celebrate. During the celebrations, Jigme received “symbolic offerings from the people of Haa” in the form of a box wrapped in yellow — Bhutan’s national color.
The small town of Lhakhang Karp was decorated for the occasion with colorful scarves, flags and eight lucky signs along its main road, which had been swept clean before the big day. The royal party was joined by over 8,000 visitors who gathered to enjoy indigenous cultural programs, ceremonies to ward off disease and obstruction in 2018 along with strongman contests, according to the local journal Kuensel.
The highlight of the day for most was the appearance of the heir apparent. Wearing traditional dress with mini multi-colored boots, the Dragon Prince flashed a sweet smile that enchanted onlookers as, with some assistance from his father, he received his gift.
The Queen shared a photo from the day on her own Instagram account, carrying her little son with them both in traditional Bhutanese outfits.
The National Day — which, this year, marks the country’s 110th anniversary — festivities are celebrated all week long throughout the largely rural, sparsely populated country.