The Maldives has a long history and fascinating cultural traditions which are very much a part of local life. Here is a quick look into the captivating heritage of this nation.
The Buddhist Era
The Maldives was a predominantly Buddhist nation and it is believed to have been inhabited as far back as the 5th century BC most probably by people from South India and Sri Lanka. This period saw many stupas and monuments being built, while culture flourished with advancements in architecture, language and customs.
Converting to Islam
The country was engaged in trade including with Arabian traders and this led to a historic turning point; in 1153, the then Buddhist king converted to Islam which led to the nation adopting it as well. Mosques were constructed throughout and those staying at a luxury hotel Maldives has to offer near Male can visit such sacred sites including the Old Friday Mosque.
Due to trade, the local culture had diverse influences; traditional songs and “Boduberu” drumming are African in style and have even been incorporated into a renewal of vows or wedding ceremonies at resorts such as Velassaru Maldives. Additionally, the local cuisine has been influenced by Sri Lankan and Indian dishes including spicy curries.
Very much intertwined with the sea, the traditional livelihood is mainly fishing and is an integral part of village life. Tuna is the most commonly caught fish especially yellowfin and skipjack tuna. Several techniques are used for fishing like the handline or pole-and-line methods, with the latter being more popular.