Recognized as one of the most famous tropical beach paradises in the world, the Maldives is an archipelago located in the Indian ocean. In the southwestern part of the Indian subcontinent, it is officially known as the Republic of the Maldives and is made up of about 1200 small atoll islands of which only 200 people live. Culture in the Maldives is very rich and diverse, and influenced by the cultures of the different ethnic groups who have settled on the island over the years.
Rich culture in Maldives
In addition to being one of the most beautiful vacation destinations, Maldives’s rich culture is influenced by various customs and traditions that make it unique and unlike any other.
As an island nation, most of the country’s culture is based on island and sea lifestyles. Culture in the Maldives is very interesting influencing and borrowing from the cultures of Indians, Africans, Arabs and Sri Lankans. The Maldives have assimilated parts of all this and built a unique culture.
Dravidian influence can still be found in many aspects of the Maldives lifestyle even up to this point. has emerged with a unique identity of its own – something all Maldives residents are proud of.
Some things to know about culture in the Maldives
Due to its location in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives has had a rich history. The early settlers left no trace. It is likely that there are people from the south coast of India that sailed and settled here. However, there is still no specific evidence of the first settlers in the Maldives. The first records of people in the Maldives are the Sinhala of Sri Lanka that came and settled. After a long period of Buddhist rule, the Maldives also witnessed the influences of Islam. Today, this paradise island is a unified constitutional republic.
Islam is the only official and permitted religion in the Maldives. To become citizens or own land, one must be Sunni Muslims. Historically, the Maldives was a Buddhist country for a long time. However, in the 12th century, a North African Arab by the name of Abu Al Barakat brought the first Koran to the island. Accordingly, the Maldives became an Islamic country in 1152 AD. Religion is an integral part of life here, culture in Maldives is based on Islamic Sharia law.
Society and culture in the Maldives depend on the sea, daily life and society so revolve around the sea and the work that people here do. Unlike some other countries in South Asia where the Maldives borrowed its culture with a widespread patriarchy, women in the Maldives play an important role in society. They hold influential positions and are an important part of the workforce. Many people believe that this society has matriarchal origins. Property is passed on to both sons and daughters, and often women keep their original surname without accepting the husband’s last name after marriage. The importance of women can be explained by the fact that men have been at least fishermen in history than women.
The official language of the Maldives is called Dhivehi, originating from the Sanskrit – Iran. One can see that this language borrows from all other cultures that influence the Maldives. Dhivehi is related to Sinhalese – the language of Sri Lanka – and other Indian languages but now they are no longer easily confused. It is very interesting that the people of Maldives have a local name Dhivehin, possibly derived from the word “deevi” in the Indian language meaning island.
In music and dance, you will be amazed at the realization of a pure African rhythm. Boduberu, a traditional Maldives dance, is an example that perfectly illustrates this. The language accompanying the drum dance will take you to East Africa.