Bhutanese are friendly and hospitable people. Large majority of Bhutanese are a homogeneous group divided linguistically into three broad sub groups. These are Sharchops, Ngalong and Lhotshampa. Besides, there are a number of smaller groups many with their own language which form about one per cent of the population. Some of these groups are Bumthap in Bumthang, Tsangho in the east Layapa in the north-west Brokpa in the north east and the Doya in the south west Bhutan. The last century has witnessed a greater variety of Bhutanese mosaic with the addition of the people of Nepalese origin comprising many ethnic groups who now form a large section of the Bhutanese population.
The Bhutanese society
The Bhutanese society is free of class or caste system and any inhibition that is detrimental for a society to progress. In general ours is an open and a good-spirited society.
Living in a Bhutanese society generally means understanding some basic norms like Driglam Namzha, the traditional etiquette. This is a norm that desires members of the society to conduct themselves in public places. Wearing a scarf when visiting a Dzong or an office, letting the elders and the monks serve themselves first, offering felicitation scarves during ceremonies such as marriages and promotions, greeting elders or senior officials are some simple manners that harmonizes and binds together the Bhutanese society.
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 ways of shaking hands has become an accepted norm.
The Bhutanese are also fun-loving people. Dancing, singing, playing archery, 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.
This important element of national identity manifests in the sight of Bhutanese people clad in intricately designed medieval garments – the gho and the kira, albeit in the latest modern footwear, a classic fusion of the modern and the ancient.
Bhutanese men wear gho, which are longish robes tied around the waist by a cloth belt, known as kera. The women’s ankle-length dress is known as kira, which is made of bright coloured fine woven fabric with traditional patterns.