Bhutan

A country filled with culture

Basic Facts

Population: 741,919

Capital: Thimphu

Leader: King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck

Government: Constitutional Monarchy

Language: Dzongkha

History

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  • 600-649 AD: What is now Bhutan come under Indian rule, and many Buddhist temples are built including two in what is now Bhutan.
  • 1627: people on their way to Tibet become the first people known to visit Bhutan.
  • 1634: Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal becomes the leader of Bhutan and unites the country.
  • 1651: Zhabdrung dies but his death is kept a secrete for 54 years so Bhutan wouldn't fall apart. People were told he was on a religious retreat and his son was taking over until he got back.
  • 1864: Britain declares war on Bhutan, which lasted five months. Bhutan was defeated and lost some of there land.
  • 1907: Ugyen Wangchuck is elected as Bhutan’s first hereditary ruler after uniting the country.
  • 1958: Serfdom (the system of people working on farms without being paid) is abolished.
  • 1966: The capital is moved from Punakha to Thimphu
  • 1971: Bhutan joins the United Nations.
  • 1999: T.Vs are allowed in Bhutan for the first time.
  • 2004: The death penalty is abolished
  • 2006: King Jigme Singye Wangchuck gives up the throne, his son becomes the world’s youngest head of state at age 26.
  • 2011: The first local government elections are held, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck marries commoner Jetsun Pem

Bhutan's independance

Bhutan is one of the fewest countries that has been independent throughout its entire history. This is mostly because they are a completely landlocked country. Bhutan borders China to the North and India to the South East and West. Although Bhutan has always been independent we still recognize August 8 as "Independence Day" because Bhutan kept its political independence from Britain, by recognizing Britain as Suzerain (a sovereign or state having some control over another state that is internally autonomous).
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Culture

Bhutan is a country filled with culture. Bhutan is 73.1% Buddhist Lamaist and 22.1% Hindu. Bhutan is the only country in the world where Mahayana Buddhism is the official religion (One of the two main branches of Buddhism). Buddhists believe in Karma (the force of cause and affect). They believe in doing good deeds to balance out the affects of Karma. They do deeds such as giving someone money who is in need. Or setting up a prayer flag (A flag in witch prayers are inscribed). Buddhists also believe when you die, you are reborn into another form. No matter how old or young Buddhists regularly visit temples for good luck. The mountains of Bhutan are dotted with monastery's. Lamas (teaching monks) lead very important ceremony's such as the naming of a baby, or village festivals. Lamas are very respected in this culture, and family's are encouraged to send at least one of there sons to be a monk. Kids are usually in a monastery between the ages of 6 and 10. The constitution guarantees freedom of religion, the Hindu can change there religion, It is illegal for someone to force someone or convince someone to change their religion.

Education

  • Primary education: Many people in Bhutan live in far flung paces and live traditional lives, In larger settlements where primary school exists, children are taught for 7 years mainly in English
  • Secondary education: even fewer children go on to 4 more years of school, more wealthy parents can decide weather they want to send their kids to private schools, sometimes even in foreign country's.
  • Tertiary education: There is only one higher level of junior collage and two teacher collages. The main institution in the university of Bhutan founded by a decree in 2003. Its faculties offer diplomas and degree courses in science and technology, business studies, traditional medicine, language and culture, education, health sciences, natural resources, and management.

Holidays

Bhutan follows the Bhutanese lunar calendar, which means the dates of specific holidays change from year to year. Each month has 30 days and is named after one of 12 animals and 5 elements. New years day is celebrated between February and March. Family's celebrate by cleaning there homes, washing their clothes, going on picnics, participating in archery competitions, and drinking traditional wheat wine. They try to make the first few days good, so hopefully the rest of the days will continue good as well. Each district holds and annual festival between October and April. These festivals go on for five days and monks preform traditional dances based on Buddhist legends. Family's dress in there finest, often wearing all the jewelry they own. Lhotshampa (Bhutanese of Nepalese origin) celebrate various Hindu holidays, including Diwali (Festival of Lights) and Dasain. Diwali is a time of feasting, visiting, and giving to others, much like Thanksgiving.

Food/Life as a kid

Bhutanese family's usually eat three meals a day, gathering around a small pot serving themselves. In the city, people sit at a low tables and use forks and spoons, where as in the country they sit on the floor and eat with their hands. Deserts are not common but they eat variety's of rice.

Children are expected to do a number of household chores, such as looking after their younger siblings, herding cows, and helping their parents with the farm work. Many children do not attend school, but their parents have soon realized the importance of sending their children to school. Schools are very far away, some students have to walk over three hours. Children get up very early in order to get to school on time. Children often don't have free time, girls help their mothers in the kitchen and boys help their fathers outside. Some children in Bhutan have never seen a computer or a TV in their life. When boys have free time they often play archery games with their friends.

Bibliography

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Nine of the Most Striking Sacred Sites in Asia. Digital image. Huffpost Travel. 1 June 1015. Web.