The culture of the Maldives is influenced by different visitors who arrived in Maldives throughout the times. We can see Indian, Sri Lankan, Arabian, Persian, Indonesian, Malaysian, and African cultural traits. The Maldives is located at an important crossroad in the Indian Ocean and the visitors have left their marks. However, acting as a melting point the Maldives assimilated these influences and has created a unique cultural identity.
Bodu Beru is the most popular form of music and dance in the country, believed to have been introduced in the early 19th century by African slaves. Historians belive that Thaara, which also holds a special place in local entertainment, have been introduced from the Middle East in the seventheeth century.
Other forms of dance such as Bandiya Jehun have a stron South Asian flavor. Today western pop and Indian music is popular with the young and old.
Located at the crossways of Indian Oceans shipping lanes on the main seaway around the Indian subcontinent, the Maldives has long been a meeting point for African, Arab, Malay and Indonesians mariners. Throughout the centuries these influences have shaped the Maldivian way of life. This can be seen from the many facets of Maldivian lifestyle such as dining, music, art and craft.
The Maldivians are skilled craftsmen. This can be seen in several of Maldivian art and craft; the deft coral stone carvings at Hukuru Miskiiy, the intricate lacquer art, the fine mats woven by the women of Fioari in the south and the work of skilled calligraphers whose works old and new that can be viewed in mosques around the country.