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While Bhutan is one of the smallest countries in the world, its cultural diversity and richness are profound.

As such, strong emphasis is laid on the promotion and preservation of its unique culture. By protecting and nurturing Bhutan’s living culture it is believed that it will help guard the sovereignty of the nation.




   Traditional Bhutanese eating habits are simple             and, in general, food is eaten with hands. Family         members eat while sitting cross legged on the             wooden floor with food first being served to the          head of the household first.

    It is usually women who serve the food and in           most cases, the mother. Before eating, a short     prayer is offered and a small morsel placed on the     floor as an offering to the local spirits and deities. With modernization, eating habits have changed and in urban areas, people usually eat with cutlery whilst seated at a regular dining table. 

Traditionally dishes were cooked in earthenware, but with the easy availability of modern goods, pots and pans have largely replaced their use. A typical Bhutanese meal consists of rice, a dish of Ema Datshi, the country’s favourite dish of chili and cheese, pork, beef curry or lentils.


   Death signifies re-birth  or a mere passing on to a    new life. In keeping with the traditions, elaborate   rituals are performed to ensure a safe passage     and a good rebirth.    

   The 7th, 14th, 21st and 49th days after a person’s     death are considered especially important and are     recognized by erecting prayer flags in the name of   the deceased and performing specific religious rituals. While the deceased are normally cremated, funerary practices vary among the southern Bhutanese and the nomadic Brokpas of northern Bhutan. Southern 

Bhutanese typically bury their dead while the Brokpas carry out ‘Sky Burials’, a process in which the deceased are prepared and left atop mountains to be devoured by vultures in a final act of compassion and generosity. Elaborate and ancient rituals are also conducted on the anniversary of the death with the erection of prayer flags. The relatives and people of the locality come with alcohol, rice or other sundry items to attend such rituals.


   The birth of a child is always welcomed. In Bhutan      extended family and guests are discouraged from     visiting during the first three days after the birth.

  On the third day, a short purification ritual is                       performed after which visitors are welcomed to visit the new born and mother. Bhutanese value children as progenitors of the future and therefore do not discriminate on the sex of the child. Traditionally various gifts are offered ranging from dairy products to cloth and money. 

The child is not immediately named; this responsibility is usually entrusted to the head lama (Buddhist priest) of the local temple. The mother and child will also receive blessings from the local deity (natal deity) and it was traditional that the name associated with the deity is given. In some cases, the child is given the name of the day on which the child is born. Based on the Bhutanese calendar, a horoscope is written based on the time and date of the birth, this will detail the various rituals to be performed at different times in the life of the child and to an extent predict his or her future.


    Until just a few decades ago arranged marriages were common and many married among their relatives. In eastern Bhutan cross-cousin         marriages were also once common, however, this practice is now             becoming less common place among the literate masses and most           marriages are based on the choice of the individuals.

   Marriages are simple affairs and are usually kept low-key. However,          elaborate rituals are performed for lasting unions between the bride and    the bridegroom. As the religious ceremony comes to an end, parents,        relatives and friends of the couple present the newlyweds with                  traditional offerings of scarves along with gifts in the form of cash and        goods.

   In the Western Bhutan, it was commonplace that the husband goes to      live in his wife’s house after marriage while the practice in Eastern            Bhutan is for the wife to move into the husband’s home. Of course, the      newlyweds may also choose to live on their own. Divorce is also an          accepted norm and carries no ignominy or disgrace within the country.



One of the most distinctive features of the Bhutanese is their traditional dress, unique garments that have evolved over thousands of years. Men wear the Gho, a knee-length robe somewhat resembling a kimono that is tied at the waist by a traditional belt known as Kera. The pouch t which forms at t...


As the Tshechu begins, the villagers and the general populace dress in their finest clothes and congregate at their local temples and monasteries were these festivals take place. Tshechus are usually occasions to mark important events in the life of the second Buddha, the Indian/Pakistani Tantric ...