The Bhutanese are fun-loving people. Dancing, singing, playing archery, stone pitching, partying, social gatherings etc. are common things that one can feel. Visiting friends and relatives at any hour of the day without any advance notice or appointment clearly depicts the openness of the Bhutanese society and stands out as one of the unique value of the society today.
Normally, one greets another by saying Kuzuzangpo (wishing wel being) amongst equals. For seniors and elders, the Bhutanese bow their head a bit and say kuzuzangpo-la. Now a days, the western ways of shaking hands and hugging has also become an accepted norm.
The Bhutanese society is free of class or caste system and any of its kinds that is detrimental for a society. Although slavery tradition existed before, the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the early 1950s through a royal edict abolished the slavery system in Bhutan. Though, few organizations to empower women have been established a few years back, in general the Bhutanese have always been gender sensitive. In general, Bhutan is an open, fun loving, happy and wel coming society.
Living in a Bhutanese society generally means understanding some basic norms like Driglam Namzha, the traditional etiquette. This is a norm that desires members of the society to conduct themselves in public places. Wearing a scarf when visiting a Dzong or an office, respectingthe elders, offering Khadars, a felicitation scarves during ceremonies such as marriages and promotions, greeting elders or senior officials are some simple manners that harmonizes and binds together the Bhutanese society. Till tradition is passed on and is still strongly alive.
People and their Beliefs
The Bhutanese are a peace loving people. Adherence to the fundamental Buddhist principles like non-violence and compassion towards all sentient beings is strongly believed and respected. Prayer flags fluttering in the wind, chortens (stupas), monasteries and twirling prayer wheels are a very common sight, sharing the prayers through prayer flags for the well being of all sentient beings.
Bhutanese has cultivated a unique culture in to their lives, and it is famous for its rich and vibrant forms of dances, costumes, architectures, arts and crafts eminent by their expressions in bold flamboyant colours and intricate designs. Belief in the doctrine of ‘Karma’ is a motivation to accumulate as many virtues as possible in the present lives to lessen the degree of suffering in the next life/birth which Buddhist strongly believes in. All their actions are defined by the teachings of Buddha who advocates virtuous living as the path to the attainment of “Nirvana”, a state of non suffering and eternal bliss that makes Bhutanese very hospitable and helpful. Love and respect for nature is inherent in every Bhutanese. Nature is very much adored as the source of all life.
Way of Life
Over 80 % of the population leads an agrarian life style. Every citizen of the country wear the distinctive national dress that is finely woven from multi colored, vibrant soft wool, cotton or silk. The men’s attire is called “Gho” and ladies dress is called “Kira”. The form of dress is common to all strata of society. Most of the women in Bhutan are fond of jewellery and is a customary practice of inheriting the jewelleries. Jewellery is mostly of pearls, corals turquoise, and agate set in well-crafted gold and silver.
The Bhutanese diet is rich in cereals particularly rice, vegetables and herbs. Chilli is a criticical ingredient of majority of the Bhutanese dishes. It is common to see these bright red chillies drying on roofs in the sun. Suja which literally menas churned salted butter tea is served on all occasions. Chang, a local brew, a spirit distilled from rice, maize, wheat or barley, is one of the most common greeting offerings that is made almost through out the countryare for the visitors. As a customary greeting “Doma” or betel nut is offered.
Archery is the popular national sport played all year round with the traditional bows and arrows. An integral part of most festivities, archery matches are social event affairs with much music, dancing drinking and gaiety. In Bhutan, the ancient music and dances of the different region have been faithfully preserved. The quite, grace of the folk dances and the drama of the energetic, colorful mask dances will remain one of the visitors most vivid