Bhutan has been in a time warp for centuries due to its geographical remoteness. In isolation, culture and tradition in Bhutan has evolved in its own unique way. Buddhist values are an integral part of Bhutan’s culture and way of life. Having never been colonized, Bhutanese are fiercely independent and proud of their culture and traditions.
Unlike many countries, traditional arts, age-old ceremonies, festivals, social conduct and structures are not remnants of a bygone age in Bhutan. Traditional arts and crafts are still practiced as they were done hundreds of years ago. Vibrant festivals are celebrated and social principles like the Driglam Namzha (age old etiquette and code of conduct) are still evident because they continue to have a special significance in the daily lives of the people.
Bhutanese language and literature, arts and crafts, drama, music, ceremonies and events, architecture, and basic social and cultural values draw their essence from Buddhism. Just as the Kingdom’s history is characterized by religious landmarks, the influence of religion is highly visible in everyday life. Hundreds of sacred monasteries, stupas, religious institutions, prayer flags and prayer wheels mark the countryside, providing a strong infrastructure and atmosphere for the teachings of their living faith.
Bhutan’s traditional culture is alive in its performing arts, such as dance and music, which are an integralpart of religious ceremonies. In addition, secular performances such as dance, songs, traditional instrumental music, drama based on biographies of religious personalities hold a special place in the lives of the people as they play an important role in national, village, or domestic functions and festivals.
Bhutan’s textile tradition has, in recent years, gone international. The distinct technique, colour and style of indigenous Bhutanese weaving have fascinated textile specialists, collectors and connoisseurs. Today Bhutanese models sashay in ramp shows, displaying the rich and scintillating tapestry of Bhutanese textiles.