The Maldives has been a melting
pot of different cultures as people from different parts of the
world came here and settled down. Origin of the Maldivians is
lost in antiquity, but history reveals that the islands have been
populated for over 3,000 years ago. Early settlers were travelers
on the Silk Route and from the Indus Valley Civilization. Inherently
warm, friendly and hospitable by nature, it is easy to feel comfortable
and relaxed with a Maldivian.
Some of the local music and dance
for instance resemble African influences, with hand beating of
drums and songs in a language that is not known to any but certainly
represents that of East African countries.
As one would expect there is a
great South Asian influence in some of the music and dancing and
especially in the traditional food of the Maldivians. However
many of the South Asian customs especially with regard to women
- for instance the Sub Continents tradition of secluding
women from public view - are not tenets of life here.
In fact women play a major role
in society - not surprising considering the fact men spend the
whole day out at sea fishing. Many of the traditions are strongly
related to the seas and the fact that life is dependent on the
seas around. Dress is generally casual. T-shirts and cotton clothing
are most suitable. In Male, the capital island and other
inhabited islands it is recommended that women wear modest clothing
without baring too much.