People

Although Bhutan is a house to numerous ethnic group, the Bhutanese people can generally categorized into three main ethnic group:

Tshanglas: known as Sharchops in locality, are considered to be aboriginal inhabitants of eastern Bhutan. History speaks, Tshanglas are the descendants of the Lord Brahma. Weaving is the common occupation among the women and till date Tshanglas are known for producing beautiful fabrics made of silk.

Ngalops: Ngalops are known to be origin of Tibet and are settled in the six regions of western Bhutan. The language spoken by Ngalops (Nngalopkha) is a polished version of Dzongkha, the national language of Bhutan. While agriculture servers their main livelihood, Ngalops are known for their ornamental speech, poetry, and unique dances.

Lhotshampas:  Lhotshampas are the citizens settled in the southern foothills of the country. The language spoken is known as Lhotshamkha (Nepali) and practice Hinduism. Most of the Lhotshampa population are engaged mainly in agriculture and cultivating cash crops such as ginger, cardamom, and oranges. 

The other minor groups scattered are Bhumthaps and Khengpas of central Bhutan, the Kurtoeps in Lhuntse, the Brokpas and the Bramis of Merak and Sakteng in eastern Bhutan, the Doyas of Samtse, and the Monaps of Rukha villlages in Wangdiphodrang.

Society

Bhutanese society is free of class or a caste system. Slavery was abolished by the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the early 1950s through a royal edict. Though, a few organizations to empower women were established in the past, Bhutanese society has always maintained relative gender equality. In general, our nation is an open and a good-spirited society.

Living in Bhutanese society generally means understanding some accepted norms such as Driglam Namzha, the traditional code of etiquette. Driglam Namzha teaches people a code of conduct to adhere to as members of a respectful society. Examples of Driglam Namzha include wearing a traditional scarf (kabney) when visiting a Dzong or an office, letting the elders and the monks serve themselves first during meals, offering felicitation scarves during ceremonies such as marriages and promotions and politely greeting elders or seniors.

The Bhutanese are a fun-loving people fond of song and dance, friendly contests of archery, stone pitching, traditional darts, basketball and football. We are a social people that enjoy weddings, religious holidays and other events as the perfect opportunities to gather with friends and family. The openness of Bhutanese society is exemplified in the way our people often visit their friends and relatives at any hour of the day without any advance notice or appointment and still receive a warm welcome and hospitality.

Buddhism

Although Bhutanese constitutions guarantees freedom of religion, Bhutan is a Buddhist country and people often refer to it as the last stronghold of Vajrayana Buddhism. Buddhism was first introduced by the Indian Tantric Master Guru Padmasambhava in the 8th century. Until then the people practiced Bonism a religion that worshipped all forms of nature, remnants of which are still evident Until then the people practiced Bonism a religion that worshipped all forms of nature, remnants of which are still evident even today in some remote villages in the country.

Bhutan is a Buddhist country and people often refer to it as the last stronghold of Vajrayana Buddhism. Buddhism was first introduced by the Indian Tantric Master Guru Padmasambhava in the 8th century. Until then the people practiced Bonism a religion that worshipped all forms of nature, remnants of which are still evident Until then the people practiced Bonism a religion that worshipped all forms of nature, remnants of which are still evident even today in some remote villages in the country.

By far the greatest contributor was Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyal. His arrival in 1616 from Tibet was another landmark event in the history of the nation. He brought the various Buddhist schools that had developed in western Bhutan under his domain and unified the country as one whole nation-state giving it a distinct national identity.

The Buddhism practiced in the country today is a vibrant religion that permeates nearly every facet of the Bhutanese life style. It is present in the Dzongs, monasteries, stupas, prayer flags, and prayer wheels punctuate the Bhutanese landscape. The chime of ritual bells, sound of gongs, people circumambulating temples and stupas, fluttering prayer flags, red robed monks conducting rituals stand as testaments to the importance of Buddhism in Bhutanese life.