Besides the obvious sea and sun, the Maldives has a rich culture that dates back to its first settlers. Seafarers from various parts of the world traversing across the oceans brought with them their distinct traditions and cultures that blended with the Maldivian way of life. These influences can still be seen in the Maldivian society to this day. The rhythmic beats of boduberu music and drumming for example reflect African influence.
The local cuisine mostly consists of fish, which is the most important food source in the country. The island nation has a limited supply of land for growing vegetables, so most of the staple foods are imported. Rice, flour and sugar are the main sources of carbohydrates. Meat is rarely eaten but consumed on ceremonial occasions. A variety of drinks can be found in the country, including raa (a local brew) and guduguda – an elongated pipe which is used for smoking tobacco or a herbal weed called tuuli (locally known as kunna).
The Maldivian people have an extensive culture that is often preserved through art. Traditional handicrafts include matt-weaving and beautiful lacquer-work which is usually painted in black, red and yellow. Football is the most popular sport in the country and young boys and men can be found playing it on the streets or in their neighbourhoods. Other sports like scuba diving, surfing, sailing, swimming and beach volleyball are also very common in the country. The Maldivian people respect their elders and value strong family ties with immediate and extended members of the family. Women have a respectable position in the society and enjoy their rights as citizens of the country. Marriage is usually arranged and polygamy is rare. The state religion is Islam and adherents of other religions are not allowed to practice publicly.