One of the important elements that sets Bhutan apart is its unique culture and tradition, which are highly prided by the Bhutanese. Bhutan’s culture dates back to the seventeenth century when Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel unified the country and founded the nation state of Bhutan.
In his bid to create a unique nation state, Bhutan invented its own language, dress and etiquette. Bhutan’s culture draws inspiration from core Buddhist values such as compassion and righteousness. For example, it is culturally inappropriate to disrespect an elder and at the same time it will also lead to accumulation of bad karma.
In other words, the Bhutanese way of life and thinking is highly influenced by Buddhist values and its culture and tradition builds its basis on Buddhism.
Young kids learn the Bhutanese etiquette called Driglam Namzha, which is taught, in all the schools throughout the country. The Driglam Namzha code basically lays out the rules of how best to present yourself in front of others. It also teaches kids the right way to dress, speak and behave in front of others or during important gatherings.
Bhutanese men wear the traditional dress called Gho during office hours and other official functions. It is a knee length skirt that somehow resembles the Scottish kilt. Women wear Kira, a long ankle length wrap-around skirt complete with a tego and wonju on top.
Archery is one of the favorite past times for Bhutanese and is also the national game. Men shoot arrows while women sing and dance, jeering and cheering the various teams that play against each other to score the highest hit on target.
Matches are held between villages and it is also considered as a get together where people from different villages come together to play games, sing, dance and share sumptuous meals together.