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.