LIFESTYLE & ENTERTAINMENT
BHUTANESE LIFE STYLE
Most Bhutanese live on farms, in remote hamlets, amidst
sylvan settings. The fast life that is both the badge
and bane of modern living is alien to the season-paced
lifestyle of these agrarian folk.
Bhutanese society is egalitarian in its apparel;
regardless of social stratum, everybody dresses alike.
The national dress is a distinctive one, finely woven
from multicoloured, vibrant-hued wool, cotton or silk.
The male attire is called a "gho" and the
female, the "kira". Jewellery is primarily
coral, turquoise, pearls and agate set in exquisitely
crafted gold and silver.
The cuisine of the country is robust with lots of
meat, cereals and vegetables, liberally spiced with
chillies. Salted butter tea, called "suja",
which may sit strangely on occidental tongues, is
customarily and frequently served along with puffed
or pounded rice and maize. Potent rice, wheat and
barley wines are brewed locally.
Archery is the popular and perennial national sport
played usually with bamboo bows and arrows. An integral
part of most festivities, archery matches are gala
affairs with music, dances, drinks and fun.
The ancient and traditional forms of music and dance
of the different regions in Bhutan, usually loaded
with sacred symbolism, have been scrupulously preserved.
The gentle grace of the folk dances and the dramatic
gusto of the energetic and resplendent masked dances
are bound to leave a lasting impression on visitors.
MUSIC & DANCE
Bhutanese religious dances are called "CHAM"
and there are a large number of them. Dancers wear
spectacular costumes made of yellow silk or rich brocade
often decorated with ornaments of carved bone. For
certain dances, they wear masks, which may represent
animals, fearsome deities, skulls, manifestation of
Guru Rimpoche or just the simple human beings.
Religious dances can be grouped into three categories;
INSTRUCTIVE OR DIDACTIC DANCES; which are dramas with
a moral (Dances of the princes & princesses, the
Dance of the stag and the hunting dogs, the Dance
of the judgement of the dead), DANCES THAT PURIFY
AND PROTECT A PLACE FROM DEMONIC SPIRITS (the dance
of the master of the cremation grounds, the dance
of the stags, the dance of the fearsome gods, the
dance of the black hats, the dance of the Ging and
the Tsholing) and DANCES THAT PROCLAIM THE VICTORY
OF BUDDHISM AND THE GLORY OF GURU RIMPOCHE (all dances
with drums, the dance of the heroes, the dance of
the celestial beings, the dance of the eight manifestations
of Guru Rimpoche).
Like the dances, religious music reflects a strong
Tibetan influence. Music gives rhythm to the dances
and religious ceremonies, and it punctuates the singing
or recitation of the texts.