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Updated by Joanna James on Aug 28, 2021
Headline for 6 Facts About Maldivian Culture & Heritage – Go beyond what meets the eye…
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Joanna James Joanna James
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6 Facts About Maldivian Culture & Heritage – Go beyond what meets the eye…

It isn't too hard to fall in love with the Maldives, given that its pleasing surroundings make for quite the riveting trip into the tropics. However, here are some cultural facts you may not know.

1

History

Long before the influences of the Islamic faith were embraced in the Maldives, the evidence establishes the fact that both Buddhism and Hinduism were practiced in these islands that have been inhabited for more than 3,000 years. Further, its first people have been recognized as being those who arrived with a view to trade from regions such as Africa and the Arab world coupled with the Tamils and Sinhalese folk who reached these shores from South India and Sri Lanka respectively.

2

Local language

Dhivehi is the local dialect practiced throughout all parts of the Maldives and it features its very own script titled 'Thaana' which showcases an alphabet principle as well as an 'Abugida.' The language too has been to a larger extent, shaped by other languages such as Arabic, Sanskrit, and Sinhalese. Amongst those commonly used phrases are "Hello" which means "Assalaamu Alaikum" whilst "Thank You" translates to "Shukuriyaa" in Dhivehi.

3

Food and drink

Based on the fact that the Maldives is an island nation, its sustenance arrives from varying sources that have found their way into its food culture. Thus, fish and coconut are found in abundance in Maldivian cuisine which is well known for being extremely generous in its usage of spices which are arguably, the main element in curry dishes that you will encounter at any Maldives beach resort such as The Residence Maldives Dhigurah. Furthermore, traditional recipes are ingrained in the Maldives's food scene with 'Garudhiya' (fish soup), 'Tuna Bajiya' (fish dish), and 'Huni Roshi' (flatbread made out of coconut) serving as some of the chief forms of cuisine in the Maldives that must be sampled before one's time here draws to an end.

4

Attire

Yet again, the tropical aspect of the Maldives cannot go unnoticed when it comes to the topic of basic attire worn by the locals. Thus, cotton is often resorted to so that it may complement the tropical weather in these parts where men can be seen in sarongs wrapped around their waists and a white, long-sleeved shirt. On the other hand, women wear what is referred to as a 'libaas' which resembles a dress and is always the go-to form of attire, especially during weddings, Bodu Beru performances, and local festivals.

5

Heritage

The Maldives is a wonder to behold in every sense of the word and presents avid vacationers with a plethora of sights and sounds that would leave one in awe. Ruins of ancient religious shrines, scrolls, and copper plates that speak of a civilization that once existed coupled with shipwrecks that have now been transformed into havens for marine life and coral formations are but a few of what comprises the heritage of this nation. If touring through the nation's capital of Male, then landmarks such as the magnificent Old Friday Mosque basking in all its glory and history will be in full view.

6

Music and dance

More than a means of entertainment, the music and dance scene here in the Maldives comes across as a way of celebrating and sharing stories pertaining to the intricate details of a truly magical people. Street parades such as those conducted during Eid feature woven exhibits of giant mythical fish being taken along by the locals. Also, the Bodu Beru dance witnesses a series of eye-catching performances such as the 'Bandiya Dance' where women are seen moving to the rhythm of the traditional Bodu Beru drum whilst clutching at water collecting containers which make for inspiring scenes.