Exploring Bhutanese Culture And Traditions

Bhutanese culture and tradition are rich in everything. One of the least explored countries in the world. No foreign invaders have conquered Bhutan. And the citizenship of Bhutan is not obtainable by any means. They have reservations for their people too. The royal government has the sole power to accept or reject one’s citizenship. Bhutan is one of the carbon negative countries in the world. The people are friendly and homely. The sale of tobacco is banned here.

The Paro International Airport from above. bhutanese culture
The Paro International Airport from above

Equality Is The Basis Of Bhutanese Culture

Bhutan is the epitome of equality. The daughters and sons are alike in Bhutan. Be it the division of wealth, or staying with their spouse post-marriage, Bhutan never differentiates between a child. And this makes Bhutan a commendable place to be born in. The art and Bhutanese culture are like no other. In 2007, Bhutan changed its status from monarchy to democracy. Buddhism is the main religion in Bhutan, followed by Hinduism. And more than 70 per cent of its population follow Buddhism.

Also Read: How To Save Money While Travelling

Dressing In Bhutanese Culture

The traditional dress is compulsory during festivals and formal occasions, schools and government offices. Bhutanese Culture and Tradition ensures that the men wear a Gho, which is a knee-length robe with a belt at the waist. The men also have a traditional shoe, Tsho Lham. Whereas the women wear a Kira, which is a long ankle-length dress draped around the shoulders and tied with a belt at the waist.

The dress of Bhutan, a local guide wearing a Gho describing bhutanese culture
The dress of Bhutan, a local guide wearing a Gho

Healthcare In Bhutan

Since 1970, Bhutan has offered universal free healthcare to its people. And there are no private clinics, except one in Thimpu, its capital. It is one of the healthiest countries on the planet. It has the least number of homeless people on the globe. Bhutan was declared a smallpox free zone by the World Health Organization (WHO), in 1977.

Environment Sustainability & Taxability In Bhutan

The people of Bhutan origin believe that the protection and preservation of the environment is the way of life. So, Bhutan happens to be among the most beautiful of places. There are tax exemptions on imports into Bhutan from many countries. In the following parts, we will see more about the Bhutanese culture and traditions, their people and their way of life.

The local arts and craft school in Bhutan, Thimpu. bhutanese culture
The local arts and craft school in Bhutan, Thimpu

Bhutanese Culture And Traditions

The Bhutanese culture is primarily based on Buddhism. The people’s belief in their religion and culture is brawny. And they respect their gods and the higher power goes to a great extent. The Bhutanese pay homage to their deceased through prayers inscribed on the flags. These flags are posted on hilltops and other declared sacred locations. The country is divided into four ethnic groups which decide the individual’s status in the community. Dzongkha is the national language or the Bhutanese dialect, that is majorly spoken. Whereas the Tibetan alphabets are used to write.

Festivals In Bhutanese Culture

December 17 is the national day of Bhutan. This day celebrates the crowning of their first king Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuk in 1907. There are many colorful festivals celebrated throughout the year. And the most important is the annual Tshechu festival. The birth anniversary of Guru Rimpoche marks this day. All the people attend this festival and witness the mask dance. The Gurus blessing atons all the sins, is a common belief.

the Tshechu Festival ground at the Summer palace, bhutanese culture
The Tshechu Festival ground at the Summer palace

Monks In Bhutan

The children can join a monastery as young as six years of age. It is under the guidance of a mentor.A Lama, heads the monastery, derived from Tibetan culture. The highest of all the Lamas is the Je Khenpo. He equals the king, and is worshipped throughout the country. Even the king visits him to seek his blessings and guidance.

Technology In Bhutan

Men and women are equal in all aspects. They equally indulge in household chores or work at offices. Except for the royals, there are no family names. The family does not pass down its name to the descendants, whether boy or girl. Bhutan is the last country to inculcate technology into the community. Bhutan introduced television in 1999, whereas internet services started in 2000. 

Bhutanese Food And Its Importance

The people of Bhutan eat red rice which is a brother of brown rice with a nutty flavour. The other staples might include buckwheat and maize or other grains that grow at a higher altitude. The people include chicken, pork and beef with dried vegetables and spicy peppers during the cold season especially to keep warm. All forms of dairy products from cows, goats and other hilly animals form a vital part of the Bhutanese diet. They indulge in cheese and butter items heavily.

Customs & Tradition In Bhutan

According to their custom, a person should not accept food when offered for the first time. And this is to facilitate respect for the offeror and the food. They have a way of covering one’s mouth and saying meshu meshu as a sign of refusal to the food. Ema Datshi happens to be the national dish of Bhutan, which is a combination of cheese and highly spicy peppers. The Bhutanese cuisine is an adaptation of Indian and Chinese food. The Bhutanese Culture encourages to eat food sitting on the floor with their hands.

Meat Consumption In Bhutan

There are no slaughterhouses in Bhutan. The meat is imported from neighboring countries. Another popular food is Momos, which is a favorite of the mass. They are dumplings enjoyed with a sauce. The last thing is that the Bhutanese people  DO NOT eat non-spicy food. So, check it before you visit the place.

The Lifestyle Of Bhutan

The people here have a very modest and simple lifestyle. The country and its people have managed to keep their religion, customs, traditions and thus their lifestyle intact. Given that it’s a strictly religious country the people have adhered to the values since times immemorial. The snobbish factor has not yet taken over the people of Bhutan. They intend to remove their shoes before entering any religious house or building.

Karma And Its Effect

The Bhutan people are ardent followers of Buddhism, which impacts their lifestyle more than anything. They believe in natural and healthy living. They have an impregnable hold on the karma belief. Therefore, they always want to do good and be kind, so that they get reciprocating karma. They have a set routine for every day. The day starts with offering prayer and water into a religious container. Post breakfast they head to work and end the day with dinner and relax with family. They are not the outgoing sort.

Archery, the national game of Bhutan
Archery, the national game of Bhutan

Marriages In Bhutanese Culture

The Bhutanese weddings are according to the Buddhist traditions. They don’t simply exchange vows and rings. Their tradition goes much higher than that. The dowry system does not exist in Bhutan. The monks guide the rituals to establish a bond between the pair as per the Buddhist standards. The rituals take place at the monasteries or the temples built especially for the blessing ceremonies. There are the same rules for both man and wife when it comes to maintaining spouses. Both have equal freedom to marry as many spouses as they want if they can afford their maintenance. During separation, both persons have to share their wealth with the other partner. This practice is followed only if the marriage is registered with the government of Bhutan. So literally in all the ways, Bhutan is leading the world in the right direction.

Bhutan In A Nutshell

Bhutan does nothing but surprises you in various ways. Its national animal happens to be a goat, can you believe that. The takin is a unique mountain goat that eats grass and leaves. You can see it at almost all the national parks in Bhutan. Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan is also the ln Bhutan. There are places and buildings of great importance and value. The national sport of Bhutan is Archery. Every third person there is a fabulous archer with a great aim. The people in Bhutan are exceptional with arts and crafts. The arts of weaving, painting, woodcarving, metalwork, basketry, sculpting, are distinctive to Bhutan. The country has managed to keep its 400-year-old civilization alive to date.

Takin- The National Animal of Bhutan
Takin- The National Animal of Bhutan

Beauty Of Bhutan

The highest motorable pass, the Chelela Pass, is a beauty to behold. The richness and rawness of Bhutan’s culture is a must do thing. The people worship their king and queen like nowhere else in the world. It might be among the least developed countries in the world, but the place is filled with sights that will speak otherwise.

Chelela Pass, the highest motorable pass of Bhutan
Chelela Pass, the highest motorable pass of Bhutan

Rapid decrease in poverty levels and improvements in the Human Development Index has made Bhutan a success story. The monasteries in Bhutan speak for themselves about the heterogeneity of the country and the people living there. Bhutan is among the top recommendations for people looking outside the mundane life.