Bhutanese Society

The Bhutanese society is free of class or caste system. Slavery was abolished by the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck sometimes in the 1950s through a royal edict. Though, few organizations to empower women have been established a few years back, in general the Bhutanese have always been gender sensitive. In general ours is an open and a good-spirited society.

As is the case elsewhere, living in a Bhutanese society generally means understanding some basic norms like Driglam Namzha, the traditional etiquette. This is a norm which desires that the members of the society conduct themselves in harmony and in a similar manner. For instance, wearing a scarf when visiting a Dzong, letting the elders and the monks serve themselves first, offering felicitation scarves when someone gets a promotion, greeting the elders or senior officials before they wish you, etc. are some simple manners that synchronizes the society.

In the Bhutanese society, the head is considered sacred and legs impure. So it is wrong to touch anyone’s head or stretch your feet in public.

Normally, greetings are limited to saying Kuzuzangpo amongst equals. For seniors and elders, the Bhutanese bow their head a bit and say kuzuzangpola. But, the western way of shaking the hands has caught on people of urban areas.

The Bhutanese are also fun-loving people. Dancing, singing, archery playing, stone pitching, partying, social gatherings etc. are common things that one observes. Visiting friends and relatives at any hour of the day without any advance notice or appointment clearly depicts the openness of the Bhutanese society.

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