Bhutan is the happiest country in the world, and it definitely has its reasons! The people of Bhutan welcomed the new prince to the world with a wonderful symbol of growth and longevity. On the 6th of March, about a month after King Khesar and Queen Jetsun announced the birth of their first child on February 5, tens of thousands of citizens came together and planted 108,000 trees. Each sapling was sealed with a prayer for the heir to the throne.

In Buddhism, the number 108 is a very sacred number and it stands for the 108 defilements that impede beings from attaining enlightenment. Hence a rosary has 108 beads. With every prayer planted, the country prayed for the longevity and health of the infant prince.

“In Buddhism, a tree is the provider and nourisher of all life forms, symbolizing longevity, health, beauty and even compassion,” said Tenzin Lekphell, the coordinator of the initiative.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, three of his ministers, and the leader of Opposition were among the 100,000 volunteers who planted the trees across the country. All 82,000 households in the country planted a tree, while the remaining 26,000 were planted by volunteers in special plantations in 14 districts. “Each sapling encapsulates a prayer and a wish from the person who planted it to His Royal Highness the Prince so that just like the bountiful tree, the Prince also grows up healthy, strong, wise and compassionate,” Lekphell said.

The Wedknock wishes the infant prince decades of health and good fortune. We pray that the young prince succeeds to bring about a record growth in Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness, and may he be loved by his countrymen and the world.