Bring Some Maldivian Cultural Inspiration into Your Home

Summer family fun for everyone with creative cultural activities from the Maldives

For families looking to bring some Maldivian cultural inspiration into their home over the school summer holidays, Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation (MMPRC) has put together a range of exciting activities for families looking to fill their days with creative ideas from the Indian Ocean destination.

Keep children entertained during the summer holidays with traditional Maldivian games such as Gandu Filla or the strategic board game of Thin Hama, enjoy arts and craft sessions making a Maldivian Palm Leaf fish with ribbon or paper, and get those feet moving with a Boduberu dance party. Families can also download a free colouring-in book of the Maldives’ iconic scenery and symbolic images of sea turtles and manta rays, as well as learn phrases in Dhivehi, the traditional language of the Maldives.

Further information on how to fill the summer holidays with activities from the Maldives is below:

Play a traditional Maldivian game of Gandu Filla

Keep children entertained this summer by playing Gandu Filla – an easy and simple Maldivian game that can be played by the whole family. Several generations of Maldivians have enjoyed playing this fun and interactive game, its rules and objectives having barely changed within the last few years!

Objective: Guess who is hiding inside the ‘Gandu’.

Equipment: Bed, a big blanket, pillows, any other items found at home.

How To Play: One person, called the guesser, steps away from the main playing area. While he or she steps out, the remaining people decide who should hide inside the blanket, called the ‘Gandu’. The others assist in putting pillows and other items on top of the person laying down before covering them with the blanket. Once this is done, the remaining players hide in various parts of the room and call upon the guesser to come back. The guesser returns and sings “gandu heley”. When the guesser sings, the person inside the Gandu must shake the blanket and the guesser must guess who the individual underneath the Gandu is. If the guesser is correct, they get to join the team and the person inside the Gandu becomes the new guesser. If they guess wrong, they must start again.

Outsmart your family on the Thin Hama board game

Thin Hama is a strategic board game that would have traditionally been drawn on a wooden square but at home can be played with a grid made up of three squares (the outer, middle and inner square) drawn on a piece of paper. Connect the squares with a line from each corner and from the middle of each side.

Objective: To make three in a row to get the opponents pieces.

No. of players: Two

Equipment: A grid and nine pieces of any two items (traditionally, Maldivians used Cowry Shells “boli” and the seeds of the Adenanthera Pavonina trees “madhoshi gas” to play the game, but it could just-as-well be enjoyed by using buttons, or with two different coloured paper cut into circles, seeds, pebbles, etc)

To play: Each player gets a turn to place their items on the grid one-by-one until all 18 pieces are on the board. These pieces can be placed on any location where the lines intersect but cannot be placed three in a row until all the pieces are on the grid. Once the pieces have been placed, take turns to move the items to make three in a row while blocking your opponent from making their row. You can only move the items vertically and horizontally, but not diagonally along the grid and only to an empty intersection. Once the player gets three in a row, they can remove any one piece from the opponent and continue, letting the opponent start off. The player wins when the opponent has only two pieces left on the board.

Get creative making a Maldivian Palm Leaf Fish

Traditionally, Maldivian children sat at the beach with their friends and created all types of different origami from the leaves of coconut palm trees. These included pin-wheels, small woven baskets and neatly folded flowers, but one of the most common types of origami that were made from these leaves were fish! Arts and craft enthusiasts can get creative by making a Maldivian Palm Leaf Fish. Simply follow the diagram to fold the leaves into the shape of a fish. Whilst families in the UK may not have palm leaves lying around their gardens, using strips of coloured paper or ribbon will also work well. Make as many as you dare and string them around the house to create a magical sea reef. The perfect rainy-day activity to remind families of swimming in the Maldives’ tropical waters.

Boogie your way through Boduberu

Boduberu is a type of music that translates to big drums in Dhivehi. Boduberu songs are usually performed by five to seven individuals who sing or drum, but the most noticeable part of Boduberu performances are the dancers. There are distinct dance steps for different types of Boduberu songs, but no strict rules are followed when dancing simply to enjoy. Families can follow the steps below to learn the basics of this traditional Maldivian dance for their next living room dance party:

  • Move the feet to the beat of the drums and on every beat take a step forward, to the side or back, using the steps to turn, walk, and move around the room
  • Sway and move the hands to the beat of the drums
  • Move the hips, lean down, twist and turn in various ways to get your boogie on
  • The beauty of dancing to Boduberu is there is nothing you can do wrong – let go, enjoy, and have fun!

Colour in the Maldives

Keep the kids busy with Visit Maldives’ free, downloadable colouring sheets featuring the Maldives’ picturesque scenery and symbolic images of sea turtles, manta rays and Riyaa Dhoni (Maldivian sailboats). Print off the pages, grab pens, pencils and paints and bring the magic of the Maldives into the house in a rainbow of colours.

Learn common phrases in Dhivehi

Evolving from the olden “Evēla” script, and later on the “Dives” script, the different stages of how the modern Dhivehi (“Thaana”) language came to be, can be seen in a lot of unique contexts. Having sightings from small, copper plates called the “Loamaafaanu” all the way back in the 12th century, up to the modern inscriptions on current day billboards, it’s safe to say that the Dhivehi language is one-of-a-kind in its journey of evolution. It’s use of vowel diacritics with its unique letters makes it one of the most interesting languages in the world! For children keen to impress their classmates when they return to school after the summer holidays, learn these easy phrases in Dhivehi – the traditional language of the Maldives. The same phrases are written in Dhivehi in the picture above.

  • Maldives – Dhivehi Raajje
  • Hello – Assalaamu alaikum
  • How are you? – Haalu kihineh?
  • Fine, thank you – Ran’galhu, shukuriyaa
  • How much? – Kihaa vareh?
  • Yes – Aan
  • No – Noon