The Maldives is a quiet tropical collection of islands in terms of global politics and economy. Its rare to hear about it on the news and in the newspapers. But it has a magical history and an interesting culture, that is well worth exploring. For many people the Maldives is a paradise offering great weather and luxury resorts, but like most places offers so much more. Spend a few minutes to get to know this beautiful country.
The National Flag
The Republic of Maldives’ flag, as we know it today, became the official flag in July 1965. The green represents peace and prosperity, while the red is used to remember the past flag. The white crescent symbolises Islam, the country’s dominant religion.
The Maldives has been and continues to be hugely impacted by global warming as it is the flattest and lowest country in the World and is situated right by the ocean. The rising sea levels has resulted in many villages being evacuated. In 2009, the Maldives promoted climate change awareness by holding the first underwater cabinet meeting.
Weekend in the Maldives
As a predominately Muslim country, a weekend in the Maldives is Friday and Saturday. But you’ll be on holiday so everyday will be like the weekend!
All residents and tourists on the island are expected to respect the national religion of Islam. Demonstrating insulting or offensive behaviour will result in punishment, most likely a prison sentence. So, no jokes!
Surrounded by coral reef means that the Maldives, is the perfect spot to see the animal kingdom beneath you. Throughout the year there are thousands of whales and dolphins swimming nearby. Within minutes of boarding a boat you will be mesmerized by the Indian Oceans beauty.
Alcohol is strictly prohibited in public areas within the towns, including restaurants. Due to the strict local religious beliefs and laws, alcohol can only be consumed within the resorts. To avoid fines or even a prison sentence, keep it in the compounds of the hotel.
Are you religious?
If you practice a faith other than Islam. You must practice privately, as there is no public observation of any other religion allowed. Best not to pack any religious text or idols with you either.
The people of the Republic of Maldives hold a strong belief in both black and white magic. Coconut is a popular ingredient in black magic spells. During the 2013 presidential election, a coconut was detained by police on suspicion of rigging the election. A white magician was hired to examine the coconut for potential curses. He found nothing and the coconut was later released.
Not Natural Sporting Winners
The Maldives have been competing in every Summer Olympics since 1988 but have never won a medal. Their football team is one of the worse countries competing in the Asian Championship. But their worst ever result was in the 1998 World Football Cup, when they were defeated 0-17 by Iran. Despite there sporting history the resorts offer some exciting water sports.
While this Indian Ocean destination is a popular place for many westerners to marry, the Maldives actually has one of the highest divorce rates in the World. Obtaining a divorce in the Maldives is much easier than in other countries. For example, A man can divorce his wife simply by saying he was divorcing her. No court is needed. But he can change his mind and cancel the divorce request within three months. But a woman needs to go through the courts to finalise a divorce, and a judge needs to justify the divorce!!
This tropical island is one of the safest countries in the World. In large part, it is probably linked to the fact that it is so isolated. But the severe punishments may also be effective.