Owing to its unique location at the crossroads of the central Indian Ocean Maldivian culture traces its roots to its neighboring nations and a host of other influences from its migrant and visiting communities. With Islamic, Arabic and even African cultures at its core this predominantly Islamic nation’s language Dhivehi closely resembles Sri Lanka’s native tongue Sinhala. However the island archipelago does not share the Buddhist heritage of its neighboring India or Sri Lanka as the Maldives has been an Islamic state since 12th century AD.
Maldivian dance forms however are closely related to North Indian dance forms such as Kathak while the famed Bodu Beru drumming performances are steeped in the African tradition. The Thaara (performed only by male dancers) and Bandiyaa (performed only by female dancers) dance traditions form the core of the conventional dance forms born and cultivated within the islands themselves.
This amalgamation and curious harmony of diverse cultures is what makes the island archipelago one of the most popular holiday destinations in the globe. With a wide variety of cultural celebrations of its own the Maldivian calendar is jam-packed with red letter events that highlight the colorful heritage of this island nation. The Eid festival and Ramadan are perhaps the most venerated festivals of the year although other local ceremonies include the Bodumaloodhu festival which is a christening event of sorts with a Maldivian twist.
Due to its breathtaking island landscapes and surrounding oceans rich in marine life Maldivian cuisine predominantly uses sea-food or fish varieties as its base. Rice and spicy curries are also staples in Maldivian food culture while the famed Garudhya tuna soup is considered a delicacy and a comfort food by natives.
The Maldivian artistic legacy on the other hand is apparent in the richly ornamented mosques and calligraphy contained within sacred walls of these places of worship. The construction of the dhoni which is the quintessential Maldivian sailboat is another cultural attribute that requires special skill and craftsmanship. Mat weaving and embroidery are also integral parts of the country’s arts and craft sector which churns out mesmerizingly designed mats, carpets and traditional women’s attire using local materials.
Travellers on the lookout for a luxury Maldives hotel should look no further than the tranquil oasis that is the Nalandhu, Maldives for all their accommodation needs. With its name literally translating to ‘beautiful island’ this charming rest is one of the best Maldives island resorts in the archipelago.
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