24 September 2017, Sunday
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About: Maldives

Climate

The weather in the Maldives is usually picture perfect: sunlit days, breezy nights, balmy mornings, and iridescent sunsets. The temperature hardly ever changes - which makes packing for your holiday an easy task (see what to pack). With the average temperature at about 30 degrees Celsius throughout the year, the sun is a constant on most days, shining through treetops, creating lacy patterns on your feet, healing cold-bones with its warmth. Throughout the day, the sun will make itself known, ensuring that it will be remembered and missed, like an old friend, as you pack up your suitcases to leave. Maldives has two distinct seasons; dry season (northeast monsoon) and wet season (southwest monsoon), with the former extending from January to March and the latter from mid-May to November.

Festivals

The festivals are part of the Maldives culture, but some of the festivals provide entertainment in the Maldives, as well as some of the tourist attractions in the Maldives. Maldives' festivals tend to be ruled by the lunar calendar. Maldives' holidays are a mix of the secular and the religious; with the lunar calendar tending to influence the religious celebrations. A blend of contemporary and traditional themes is clearly seen during Maldives festivals. Haj and Bodu Eid celebrated in January, possibly the most poignant of the Maldives' festivals takes place. It’s the annual Haj pilgrimage during which, many Maldivians travel to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. July 26th on Malé is the biggest national event in the Maldives festivals' calendar. It marks the Maldives Islands’ independence from the British in 1965. The festival that Maldivians call National Day commemorates the victory of Mohammed Thakurufaanu over the occupying Portuguese forces in 1573. Kuda Eid which comes in October is also among the popular celebrations. Ramadan ends with the beginning of a new moon. A cannon is ceremoniously sounded to mark the end of the fasting and also the beginning of Kuda Eid, a Maldives' festival celebration beginning with prayers. On 11 November 1968, the Sultanate was abolished and the Maldives became a republic for the second time.

Gastronomy

The Maldivian cuisine has strong influences from the neighboring countries, more specifically from India and Sri Lanka. For instance, Maldives, like India, is a fan of curries, which is locally called riha and is usually accompanied by roshi, the Maldives’ version of India’s flattened bread. But beneath the flavor and cooking influences is Maldivian’s distinct tang – a different kind of sweetness, a milder spiciness, and an overall exotic taste. Kulhi Boakibaa,Kulhi boakibaa is a Maldivian fish cake and is considered a snack food (hedhikaa).Gulha is like kulhi boakibaa. Gulha is a Maldivian short eat and is widely associated with fish balls. Bajiyaa is a popular triangular short eat is often served during special occasions such as weddings and children’s parties. Egg Curry is again a famous a curries and most popular and basic dishes. Bambukeylu hiti is a breadfruit which is common in Maldives, so it is often added to dishes or cooked and served in itself.

Geography

Most atolls of the Maldives consist of a large, ring-shaped coral reef supporting numerous small islands. Islands average only one to two square kilometers in area, and lie between one and 1.5 meters above mean sea level. Although some of the larger atolls are approximately 50 kilometers long from north to south, and 30 kilometers wide from east to west, no individual island is longer than eight kilometers.[3] The vegetation of Maldives is different in the uninhabited and inhabited islands. The inhabited islands have small plantations of banana, citrus trees, drumstick, yams, millet, watermelon, breadfruit trees, papaya and coconut palms. The Maldives has no hills, but some islands have dunes which can reach 2.4 meters (8 feet) above sea level, like the NW coast of Hithadhoo (Seenu Atoll) in Addu Atoll. Islands are too small to have rivers, but small lakes and marshes can be found in some of them.

History

The Maldives became a British Protectorate in 1887 and remained so until 26 July 1965. The independent Maldives reverted from a Sultanate to a Republic on 11 November 1968. The first written constitution was proclaimed in 1932. Earliest known history of the Maldives is recorded in these metal tabs known as "loamaafaanu", according to which it seems certain that the islands of Maldives were first settled by Aryan immigrants who are believed to have colonized Sri Lanka at the same time, (around 500 BC). Further migration from South India, as well as Sri Lanka occurred. The latest archaeological findings suggest the islands were inhabited as early as 1500 BC. Around 947 AD, recorded contact with the outside world began with the Arab travelers. One can imagine accounts taken home depicting the potential for trade in pearls, spices, coconuts, dried fish, and certainly the abundance of cowry shells. The cowry shells were the accepted currency from Africa to China until the sixteenth century. Together with the description of the exotic paradise islands and expensive natural resources, the news the travelers must have taken home probably resulted in the arrival of more ships bearing traders and other travelers.

Population

The Maldives are also referred to as the Maldive Islands, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean consisting of a double chain of twenty-six atolls, oriented north-south, that lay between Minicoy Island. A census has been recorded since 1905, which shows that the population of the country remained around 100,000 for the following sixty years. Following independence in 1965, the rate of population growth rose due to improving health. The population doubled by 1978, and the population growth rate peaked at 3.4% in 1985. At the 2006 census, the population had reached 298,968 although the census in 2000 showed that the population growth rate had declined to 1.9%. Life expectancy at birth stood at 46 years in 1978, and later rose to 72. Infant mortality has declined from 12.7% in 1977 to 1.2% today, and adult literacy reached 99%. As of April 2008, more than 70,000 foreign employees, along with 33,000 illegal immigrants, comprised more than one third of the Maldivian population. They consisted mainly of people from the neighboring South Asian countries of India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal.

Religion

Since Maldives embraced Islam in 1153, Islam has been central to the life of Maldivians. The main events and festivals of Maldivian life follow the Muslim Calendar. From infancy children are taught the Arabic alphabet. Religious education is provided both at home and at school. Islam is part of the school curriculum and is taught concurrently with other subjects With the exception of Shia members of the Indian trading community, Maldivians are Sunni Muslims; adherence to Islam, the state religion since the twelfth century, is required for citizenship. The importance of Islam in Maldives is further evident in the lack of a secular legal system. Instead, the traditional Islamic law code of sharia, known in Dhivehi as sariatu, forms the basic law code of Maldives as interpreted to conform to local Maldivian conditions by the president, the attorney general, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Majlis. On the inhabited islands, the miski, or mosque, forms the central place where Islam is practiced.