People of Bhutan

Bhutan’s population can be called in many ways, one large family. Living in scattered sparsely populated villages of the Himalaya’s rugged terrain, more than 70 percent of the people live on subsistence farming. Rice is the staple diet in the lower regions, and wheat, buckwheat, and maize in other valleys. Farming is done in narrow terraces cut into the steep hill slopes.

Bhutanese communities settled in the valleys with limited communication in the past. This factor led to the development of a strong sense of individuality and independence, which is an innate characteristic of the people. It is because of the very same reason that, Bhutan has developed a number of languages and dialects, despite its very small population. Physically strong and fiercely independent by nature, Bhutanese are an open minded people with a ready sense of humor. Hospitality is an in-built social value in Bhutan.

People living in Bhutan mostly speak Sharchop and Dzongkha which are the main Bhutanese languages. These languages are tightly linked to Tibetan language and monks in Bhutan used to write an age-old variant of Tibetan language called Chhokey. In physical aspects, Bhutanese are quite like Tibetans and there are distinct similarities in the arts, crafts, jewelry and handicrafts used by Tibetans and the Bhutanese. In fact, people of both nations revere the tantric guru Padmasambhava.

There is a lot of focus on education and education is free in Government schools till the higher secondary level after which the students are given full or partial scholarships depending upon their merit. There is no gender disparity when it comes to education.

Love marriages are quite common and marriages are registered officially when the couple has lived together for a period exceeding 6 months. Divorce is not uncommon and is not a taboo topic.
 The Bhutanese society is matrilocal i.e. the groom moves to the bride’s home after marriage but nowadays, most couples choose to live separately. Incidentally, Bhutan is one of those rare Asian countries where dowry is not practiced and inheritance is passed on to the daughters (matrilineally). There is also no obligation on women to take on their father’s or husbands name.