Bhutan celebrates the birth of its prince by planting 108,000 trees
The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan celebrated the birth of the crown prince by planting over 108,000 saplings across the country.
Bhutan’s King Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema announced the birth of their first child on Feb. 5. The tree plantation ceremony was held a month later, and is a form of prayer for the new-born.
In Buddhism, trees are considered to be the provider of life. Each sapling represents a prayer from the person planting it that the prince grows up to be healthy, strong and wise like the tree. The number 108 is also considered to be sacred in Buddhism.
Planting trees with thousands of volunteers to celebrate the birth of HRH, our Gyalsey. Well done Tendrel Initiative pic.twitter.com/i0hxFF9EHa
— Tshering Tobgay (@tsheringtobgay) March 6, 2016
Planting 5,000 trees today in dedication to our Crown Prince, Ecology and Happiness. A proud moment for #Bhutan pic.twitter.com/UQAfHNpxH2
— Tourism Bhutan (@tourismbhutan) March 6, 2016
A Happiness Garden was also inaugurated in the capital Thimphu, which invites international travellers to plant “happiness trees” during their visit. Eventually, it hopes to have trees representing every country.
Bhutan is famously known as one of the happiest countries in the world, and follows a policy of Gross National Happiness, which measures the quality of life of its citizens. Its focus is on balancing economic growth with protecting its environment. According to the country’s laws, 60% of the total area will always be under forest cover. It currently has around 75% forest cover.
Last year, 100 Bhutanese volunteers set a Guinness World Record by planting 49,672 trees in just an hour.