People and Culture

The Bhutanese people are a good natured, friendly and fun loving people. The ruggedness of the terrain and the remoteness of its valleys have led to the formation of many scattered communities throughout Bhutan. Hence there are nineteen languages spoken in the country for a population of just 700,000. The people are broadly described as Ngalong from the western region, Sharchops from the eastern region, Lhotsampas who are of ethnic Nepali orgin from the south. Bhutan also has several small communities who have literally lived in isolation in their own communities for many years keeping their traditional practices alive. These include the Doyas in the south, the Layaps in the north-west, the Monpas of central Bhutan, and the nomads of Merak and Sakten in the eastern Bhutan.

Culture means to cultivate, cultivate a set of behaviors and beliefs system that are practiced by a particular social, ethnic or age group. Culture is basically a way of life and we could proudly say that Bhutan has a very rich culture which is unique and strong. Culture had played a predominant role in ensuring our country’s independence and solidarity.
The rich cultural heritage of Bhutan has remained remarkably unblemished. It is to a great degree not remnants of the past but a living culture, where age old tradition are vibrant and still continue to have clear significance in everyday life of the Bhutanese people. Cultural heritage is considered the very foundation upon which the identity of the Bhutanese people and the Kingdom of Bhutan as a sovereign independent nation is built. The signs of strong tradition are evident to a visitor from the impressive architecture and art form adoring the Bhutanese landscape.

Some of the prominent Bhutanese cultures are:
Family : Bhutan’s is a closely knit family and the bond of oneness is strong. Family values are strictly observed but non enforced. Respect and obedience for the elders are at the core of the Bhutanese family's code of ethics. Foods would first be served to the eldest in the family who usually sit at the top. The younger ones wouldn’t interrupt when an elder is talking. While meeting on a road, the younger person would make way for the elder, usually by stepping aside or below the road. Generally, the younger person would address his elders by the title and not by the name to show respect. In some parts of the country the younger members of the family won’t even make an attempt to step on the shadow of the elder member. Extended family is very much a common phenomenon in Bhutan.

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