Balloons of Bhutan
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About

A portrait of happiness in the last Himalayan kingdom, where "Gross National Happiness" replaces "Gross National Product".
Published:
Balloons of Bhutan . 2011
Balloons of Bhutan is a portrait of happiness in the last Himalayan kingdom.
 
Bhutan uses "Gross National Happiness" instead of "Gross National Product" to measure its socio-economic prosperity, essentially organizing its national agenda around the basic tenets of Buddhism.
 
In late 2007, I spent two weeks in Bhutan, interviewing 117 different people about different aspects of happiness. I asked people to rate their level of happiness between 1 and 10, and then inflated that number of balloons, so very happy people would be given 10 balloons, and very sad people would be given only one. I also asked each person to make a wish, and then wrote that wish on a balloon of their favorite color.
 
On the final night, all 117 wish balloons were re-inflated and strung up at Dochula, a sacred mountain pass at 10,000 feet, and left to bob up and down in the wind, mingling with thousands of strands of prayer flags.

balloonsofbhutan.org . statement . ted talk