Bhutan Aims To Reinforce And Promote Its Cultural Identity And Traditions
Bhutan’s culture and tradition has been identified as one of the National Key Result Areas (NKRA).
By Damchoe Pem | The Bhutanese
With the aim of strengthening Bhutan’s identity and sovereignty, the preservation and promotion of the country’s culture and tradition has been identified as one of the National Key Result Areas (NKRA).
What constitute a nation’s culture and tradition?
Culture and tradition encompass intangible aspects of a nation such as knowledge, skills, attitudes, beliefs, music, oral traditions and festivals.
Royal Laya Highlands Festival of Bhutan.
Photo: Druk Asia
These values exist in addition to tangible culture which includes dzongs (monasteries), lhakhangs (temples), arts, antiques, antiquities, indigenous food and sports.
Strategies to be undertaken for the sustenance and continuity of Bhutan’s cultural heritage
Therefore, in order to address the challenges of preserving and promoting Bhutan’s heritage, and to achieve the NKRA, the government has identified a few strategies such as: preserving age-old traditional festivals, highland traditions and culture.
On top of that, the government also has various programs which they will implement to achieve the NKRA such as the sustenance and continuity of Bhutan’s cultural heritage.
Tangible cultural heritage sites such as the community lhakhangs (temples) and chortens (stupas) in the respective Dzongkhags (Districts) will be maintained.
The Memorial Chorten (Stupa), also known as Thimphu Chorten or National Memorial Chorten, is one of the most iconic religious landmarks of Thimphu Bhutan.
Photo: Druk Asia
While intangible cultures such as local songs, dances, folk stories and local festivals will be preserved. Contemporary arts such as film and music will also be promoted.
Based on requirements, new Dzongs and Lhakhangs will be constructed and existing ones will be maintained and restored. Support can also be given to important historical community-managed lhakhangs.
The program co-ordinators will register cultural properties, conduct research and document in order to safeguard Bhutan’s cultural heritage. Museums and cultural library services will be also be enhanced.
Furthermore, the disaster management capacity of cultural heritage sites will also be improved. The program will be implemented by the Ministry of Home and Culture Affairs.
Promotion of the national language and local indigenous languages
This program aims to promote the use of Dzongkha - the national language and other local dialects.
Photo: Markus Wild
The program will conduct research, organise national events such as awareness programs and the improvement of language contents.
Local indigenous languages, culture and traditions will also be preserved and promoted. The program will also specifically document 18 indigenous dialects native to Bhutan. It will be implemented by the Dzongkha Development Commission.
The language of Dzongkha can be made more user-friendly by promoting Dzongkha through computing. It will be implemented by the Dzongkha Development Commission.
In order to enhance spiritual values, programs such as meditation, monkhood and spiritualism will be implemented by the Dratshang Lhentshog - the Commission for the Monastic Affairs of Bhutan.
This article first appeared in The Bhutanese and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.