When you think of Maldives, a picture of paradise comes to mind. But these beautiful islands aren’t just a place of beauty; they also have a stormy history.
The first settlers of the Maldives were seafarers from many parts of the world, and their cultural traditions can still be seen in this archipelago today. The rhythmic drumming and songs called ‘bodu beru’ are one example, as are the Maldivian cuisine and a culture that is heavily influenced by neighbouring nations.
Tubers like cassava (dandialuvi) and sweet potato (kattala) as well as fruit like breadfruit and screwpine are staples in the Maldivian diet. Rice is another staple and is commonly boiled. A dish known as garadhiya is a fish broth that contains a variety of tuna, and it’s normally served with lime and toppings like theluli mas. Another popular meal is banbukeylu harissa, a spicy and nourishing breadfruit curry.
The Maldivian people have a proud and rich culture, but they face challenges from climate change as well as from modernisation and the influx of foreign influences. There’s a danger that traditional practices will be overlooked in favor of more lucrative commercial interests. And there’s a risk that the country’s unique heritage could be lost for ever.