In the tiny country of Bhutan bordering Tibet, King Khesar and Queen Jetsun announced the birth of a new baby prince on February 5th.
How did the citizens celebrate? All 82,000 of the nation’s households planted a tree.
Volunteers from the country’s districts planted an additional 26,000 so the total would add up to a whopping 108,000 – a holy number in Buddhism, whose rosary-like malas hold 108 prayer beads).
Each tree was planted with an encapsulated prayer so that as the trees grew strong and tall over time, so would the young Prince.
“In Buddhism, a tree is the provider and nourisher of all life forms, symbolizing longevity, health, beauty and even compassion,” Tenzin Lekphell, who coordinated the initiative, told the Diplomat. “It wasn’t a coincidence that the Buddha attained enlightenment under a banyan tree.”
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Bhutan is known as one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world. In 2013, it became the first country in the world to turn its agriculture completely organic, banning the sales of pesticides and herbicides. It has also been named the world’s happiest nation on one occasion, after its leaders decided to value success on a Gross National Happiness scale, rather than on the economic-based Gross National Product.
The primarily Buddhist nation is a democratic monarchy, with – as one can easily tell – a much-beloved royal family.
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Photo from His Majesty’s Facebook page