Culture of Bhutan is among the oldest, most carefully guarded and well preserved cultures in the world. People of Bhutan have always been careful about conserving their centuries-old culture. Even in today’s time, Bhutan has been able to retain its old world charm. This is one of the reasons Bhutan is loved by the tourists who want to pass their holidays in ethnic pockets.
Language and Religion
Dzongkha is the official language of Bhutan, but many regions in Bhutan still retain their native dialects due to their isolation. As people are receiving education, especially those in urban areas, are getting more familiar with the English language, which is also the medium of instruction in Bhutan. The Tantric form of Mahayana Buddhism is the official religion of Bhutan. It is an important factor in the development of Bhutanese society. Bhutan villages are strewn with temples and religious structures, which are present along the roads and trails. One can also see many prayer flags on the hills and high passes. Almost all the homes in Bhutan have a special area where a small shrine is placed.
The national dress of Bhutan originated from the time of the first Shabdrung. The men in Bhutan wear a “Gho,” a long knee-length robe that is tied around the waist by a belt and the women wear a “Kira,” which is an ankle-length dress worn with a short jacket. To preserve the ancient customs from being influenced by the West, the Bhutanese government has made it compulsory for all Bhutanese to wear only their national dress in public.
Rice and Chilies are the major features of Bhutanese diet. The chilies are considered as a vegetable and not just a spice. Bhutanese dishes are mostly fiery and meats like pork, radish (daikon) that is dried beef mixed with vegetables and yak meat, when it’s in season, are widely eaten. A dish called “ema datse,” which is chilies and cheese, is one of the favorite dishes in Bhutan. Vegetables eaten in Bhutan are potatoes, fern, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, and onions which are often cooked with a small bit of fresh cheese. Buckwheat is the main staple diet in central Bhutan, since it is situated at an altitude that is too high to grow rice. The Bumthang region of central Bhutan is known for its buckwheat pancakes and noodles. Beverages popular in Bhutan are butter tea (suja) and ara, is a spirit distilled from rice, wheat, or corn.