People and Culture of Bhutan
As you plan your travel to Bhutan, it is important to learn about Bhutan's culture and traditions. Every country is different and Bhutan is definitely a unique land with extraordinary people. As you book your Bhutan hotel, we would like to share with you a little more about our people.
Everyone knows everyone in Bhutan somehow. The culture of Bhutan stems from a closed community-based set-up, owing to which Bhutanese generally are intensely religious, positively proud of culture and tradition, and indeed very hospitable. Daily way of life is largely guided by Buddhist teachings; each and every house has a prayer room. The spiritual beliefs and strong community ties allow Bhutanese to stay in perfect harmony with nature and society despite remoteness and be able enjoy the simple pleasures of life. The king of Bhutan and chief abbot are highly revered; the former being the constitutional head and the latter the religious head. An odd 60 percent of the population still lives in rural areas with agriculture and farming as way of life; Polygamy does exist in certain areas.
Chili, Cheese and Areca nut are important aspect of eating culture, Doma (Areca Nut) is chewed everywhere, by all sections of society. Often Doma is the first thing offered to a guest. Keeping aside its importance, it has largely contributed, to giving at least one of ten Bhutanese, the distinctive red colored teeth. Though Bhutanese society has evolved over the years and is fairly in its infancy, one of its greatest attributes is that men and women mix and converse freely and are treated equal in all aspects.
Deeply rooted tradition is possibly the most amazing aspect of Bhutanese culture, which is reflected in sheer love for traditional dress. All Bhutanese continue to wear the traditional dress: Gho for men and kira for women.
Archery is the national sport of Bhutan and a tradition. Bizarre; it may be, its songs, dances, jeers and near-primitive howls, but is a fulfilled socialization platform and is known to draw large crowds.
Tshechu is perhaps the cultural hallmark of Bhutan, celebrated as religious festivals, commemorating deeds of Guru Rinpoche; it lasts up to four days in which a series of highly skilled masked dance and rituals are performed. People are dressed in their finest clothes and jewelries and are a natural platform for socializing and merry making. Two of the most famous Tshechu are held at Paro in the spring and Thimphu in the autumn. It is good to plan your holiday around events in Bhutan.
As far as official etiquette is concerned Bhutanese follow a refined system of etiquette, which is called "driglam namzha”. It governs many types of behavior, including how to send and receive gifts, how to speak to those in authority, how to serve and eat food at public occasions, and how to dress. One may come across peculiar sight were a person may be speaking, slightly stooped, with hands over the mouth; a typical example of established cultural protocol of speaking to people holding official ranks amongst others.