Society


Society

Except for the royal family and a few other noble families, Bhutanese do not have surnames. Individuals normally have two names, but neither is considered a family name or a surname. Some people adopt their village name, occasionally in abbreviated form, as part of their name, using it before their given name. Wives keep their own names, and children frequently have names unconnected to either parent. Some individuals educated abroad have taken their last name as a surname, however. A system of titles, depending on age, degree of familiarity, and social or official status, denotes ranks and relationships among members of society. The title dasho, for example, is an honorific used by a prince of the royal house, a commoner who marries a princess, a nephew of the Druk Gyalpo, a deputy minister, other senior government officials, and others in positions of authority.

Although Buddhists, Bhutanese are not vegetarians. Beef, pork, poultry, goat and yak meat, and fish are important parts of the Bhutanese diet. Rice is the main staple. Dairy products, such as cheese and butter, meat soups, rice or corn, and curries spiced with chilies comprise daily menus. Beverages include buttered tea and beer distilled from cereals. Wild vegetables, such as young ferns, orchids and mushrooms are also harvested.

Traditional clothing is still commonly worn. Women wear the kira, an ankle-length dress made of a rectangular piece of cloth held at the shoulders with a clip and closed with a woven belt at the waist, over a long-sleeved blouse. Men wear the gho, a wraparound, coat-like, knee-length garment, with a narrow belt. Both sexes also wear scarves or shawls; white for commoners; blue for members of parliament; green for judges; red for Dashos and orange for Ministers. Only the Druk Gyalpo and the Je Khenpo wear the honorific saffron scarf.