Bhutan Perfect Travel
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Bhutanese culture is one of the distinctive cultures in the world. As a tiny country with a very small population the need to preserve culture and tradition is amplified. This unique culturse is a means of protecting the sovereignty of the nation. The distinctiveness of the culture and tradition is visible in the everyday life of the Bhutanese.
• Birth: The birth of the child is always welcomed heartly. The outsiders, normally, do not visit the child for first three days as the house is considered polluted by kaydrip (defilement by birth). Thus, a purification ritual (Lhabsang) is conducted in the house, after which the outsiders come to the house to see the new born baby. Gifts are brought for the newborn and the mother. The gifts range from rice and dairy products in the rural places to clothes and money in the urban. Usually the child was named by religious person, and some they visit the temple and get the name from temples. The mother and the child also visits local temple to receive blessings from the local deity (natal deity) and the name associated with the deity is given. In some cases, the child is given the name of the day on which the child is born. Based on the Bhutanese calendar, a horoscope is written that details out the time and the date of the birth, various rituals to be performed at different time in the life of the child and to an extent predicting his future.
• Marriage: Arranged marriages were popular just a few decades back. Normally, people in eastern Bhutan are married among the relatives or cross-cousin marriage was a popular tradition. This is now becoming unpopular among the literate mass and most of the marriages take place based on their own choice.
Marriages are conducted in simple ways. A small ritual is performed by a religious person. However, in some cases dinner parties are organized. The parents, relatives and the friends present scarves (kha-dar) to the couple along with gifts in the form of cash and goods in most cases during the ritual.
In the western part of Bhutan, the husband goes out to the wife’s house after marriage while in the eastern Bhutan it’s just the reverse. This practice is however not mandatory. The new couple may set up their own household on their own plot of land. Divorce is accepted in the Bhutanese society and carries no stigma. The divorced couple in most situations remarries with new partners. However, compensation is paid by the party seeking separation.
• Funeral: Death is the most expensive affair as it does not mean the end. On the contrary, it is merely passing on to another life. Thus many rituals are performed to help the departed soul get a better rebirth. Rituals are performed after the 7th day, 14th day, 21st day and the 49th days of the death. Cremations are done only on a favorable day prescribed by the astrologer but in habitually before the 7th day ritual. Elaborate rituals are also conducted on the death anniversary for three consecutive years with erection of prayer flags in the name of the deceased. The relatives and people of the locality come with alcohol, rice, or other sundry items to attend these rituals.