Maldives has a rich cultural heritage that is based on an intricate mix of influences. Some of these influence are derived from ancient Hindu and Buddhist cultures while others have developed from colonial occupation and migrant populations.
Maldivian traditions are closely tied to the sea, with fearful sea demons and spirits often depicted in mythical legends. This is especially true in the islands’ oral tradition, which is also reflected in folk tales and songs.
Music and dance form an important part of the Maldivian culture. Bodu Beru (literally meaning drum and dance) is one such form that has become an integral part of the country’s celebrations.
There are many traditional performances and shows during festivals and events such as Eid, celebrating Islamic holidays with dance and music performed to the accompaniment of a drum. Other popular forms of entertainment are Dhandi Jehun and Thaara, both of which can be found throughout the country.
Dhivehi is the official language of Maldives, a Dravidian Indo-Iranian language that has close ties to Sinhalese and some Indian languages. Most of the population speaks a variety of Dhivehi, with linguists estimating that 98% speak the standard variety.
The Maldivian educational system has a long history of home tuition, where children were taught religious and literacy skills at an early age. These lessons were mainly conducted at home, using thin wooden boxes filled with sand that were used to write letters, both Dhivehi and Arabic.