Bhutan’s culture is remarkably intact. National dress remains in vogue today. Men wear the gho, long robe tied around the waist by a slim belt. Women wear ankle-length robe called kira, made from woven fabrics.
Bhutanese homes, which may rise as high as four storeys, are traditionally built of stone, wood and clay often adorned with beautiful architectural designs. Historically, these houses are constructed entirely without nails, as are the large fortresses or dzongs, which are the centre of the community’s temporal and spiritual life. Bhutanese food is quite different from other countries, and is often quite spicy.
Chili peppers appear in vegetable and meat dishes alike. Emadatsi, phagsha paa and norsha paa are popular national dishes. In general, Vajrayana (Tantric) Buddhism permeates
Bhutan’s languages and literature, arts and crafts, drama, music, medicine, astrology, rituals and ceremonies, architecture, festivals and basic social and cultural values. Its influence is visible in everyday life. Hundreds of monasteries, stupas (reliquaries), religious institutions, prayer flags and prayer wheels mark the countryside, reflecting the pervasiveness of Buddhist culture.
Traditional arts and crafts continue to be practiced today. The skill of Bhutan’s craftsmen in working with bronze, silver and other fine metals is seen in multitude ways: statues of deities, temple doorways, bells, trumpets, swords, tables, jewelries. Wooden crafts include bowls and dishes and a wealth of items made from finely worked bamboo, among them hats, baskets, butter containers, bows and arrows, and Bhutanese papers is produced from bark of trees. Masks for ritual dances are also hewn from wood or shaped with clay.
In recent years, Bhutan’s textile tradition has gone international, especially with the head-turning fashions of Her Majesty the Queen. The distinct techniques, colours and styles of indigenous Bhutanese weaving are serving as inspiration to textile specialists, collectors and fashionistas around the world.
Of the sports that developed in Bhutan over the centuries, archery is the national game and national passion. It dominates play in urban and rural areas.
Performing arts, such as dance and music, are an integral part of religious ceremonies. In addition, secular performances including dance, songs, traditional instrumental music, and dramas based on the biographies of religious personalities play an important role in national, village, or domestic events and festivals.0