The Maldives has a rich history and distinctive culture that are worth knowing about before you visit and here’s a brief overview to help you get started.
Religion & Culture
While the Maldives was initially a Buddhist nation, in 1153, the country’s king converted to Islam; subsequently, the entire nation followed and to this day, it remains a Muslim country. The beliefs and teachings of Islam are thus intertwined with the laws and local way of life. Guests at resorts like Hard Rock Hotel Maldives can easily visit the Maldives Discovery Centre to find out more about the culture here including traditional arts and crafts.
Music & Dance
Both music and dance are two key aspects of Maldivian culture with the highlight being “Boduberu” which translates to “Big Drum”. This traditional music which was brought over by sailors as far back as the 11th century has its roots in African culture and rhythms; it includes not only drumming, but dancing and singing too, with the latter featuring tales of love, war, or heroes. Interestingly, in the Maldives, resort rooms and suites aside, some properties offer local experiences including Boduberu drumming that has been incorporated into beach wedding ceremonies.
Traditional attire in the Maldives includes a long dress with silver and gold thread called a “libaa” that’s worn by women and a white shirt and sarong for men. Keep in mind that since this is a Muslim nation, conservative attire that covers bare shoulders, legs and midriffs is what’s expected on local islands, and this applies to foreigners as well. However, such rules do not apply to private resorts where even two-piece swimsuits are allowed.
Another key aspect of local culture that tourists love experiencing is the food in Maldives! Traditional cuisine has been influenced by neighbouring countries such as India and Sri Lanka as well as traders from the Middle East and the Far East. As you would expect in a nation surrounded by the sea, fish, especially tuna, is prominently used as are coconut and starches like cassava, while spicy curries and fresh seafood are also popular.