Bhutan Tradition and Culture

Birth

Birth of new born baby is always celebrated in Bhutan. Mothers are cared and looked after very well. A small purification ritual is performed on the 3rd day after which guests & outsiders are allowed to meet mother & child, offer them gifts which include clothes, money and even dairy products.

A highly religious figure (lama) gives name to the child. New born baby with mother also visit the local religious temple to receive blessings. A horoscope predicting future of the baby is drawn out with the help of time and date of birth based on the Bhutanese calendar

Marriage 

Marriage in Bhutan is extremely simple affair. Bride as well as the bride groom has to perform a number of traditional rituals. At the end of marriage ceremony, friends, relatives and parents offer scarves, gifts including cash and gold to the newlywed couple.

As in case of divorce, the husband and wife can freely choose to go with their new partners after divorce without any disgrace or shame.

Funeral

In Bhutan, people believe that death is the route to rebirth or new life. To ensure that the deceased person gets a good rebirth a lot many rituals are performed at the time of funeral. On the 7th, 14th, 21st and 49th day, several rituals are performed and prayer flags erected in memory of the diseased family member.

Normally, the dead bodies are cremated, but some community in Southern Bhutan bury, while brokpas of eastern Bhutan prefer to chop off the dead body and feed the vultures. On every death anniversary of the deceased person, a lot of rituals are performed. Family members, relatives and people offer rice, alcohol and other items while attending such ceremonies.

Bhutanese Dress

Dress that the men wear is known as Gho reaches up to their knees while the dress that the ladies wear is known as Kira reaches up to their ankles. The men’s dress Gho is folded and tightly tied to the waist by Kera (belt). The pouch so formed is used to carry wallet, mobiles, beetle nuts and other such small items. Traditionally, the pouch was used to carry bowls and dagger.

In the Bhutanese tradition, wearing scarves is a must for everybody while visiting religious places like Dzongs and other religious and administrative places. Kabney is the scarf that the men-wear while Rachu is the scarf worn by the women.

Eating habits

The traditional Bhutanese people eat with hands. All members of the family sit with their legs crossed on the wooden floorings. Food is served first to the head member of the family generally by women members of the family. People offer short prayers before eating and place a small morsel on the floor to offer food to the spirits. But now everything has changed with the modernization, people in urban areas prefer to eat with forks and spoons siting on dining tables.

Dishes were traditionally prepared in earthenware, but now pans and pots have replaced the earthenware. Meal usually consists of rice, Ema Datshi- a dish made with chilly and cheese and pork or beef.

Festivals

Tshechu is the traditional festival, which is celebrated in all the districts of Bhutan. People in their traditional dresses meet at the temples and religious monasteries to celebrate the festival. Tshechus are held to celebrate the main events in Guru Rinpoche’s life, master of Indian Tantric and also considered as the Second Buddha. Mask dances along with folk songs and dance can be witnessed in the three days long festival. People meet friends, relatives and share their meals together (Rice, Ema Datshi and Traditional wine Ara).

About Language

Bhutan is linguistically rich with over eighteen dialects spoken all over the country. National language is Dzongkha, the native language of the Ngalops of western Bhutan. Dzongkha literally means the language spoken in the Dzongs and administrative centres of Bhutan.

The other major languages are Tshanglakha and the Lhotshamkha. Tshanglakha is the native language of the Tshanglas of eastern Bhutan while Lhotshamkha is spoken by the southern Bhutanese of Nepali origin.

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