Cultural Identities


Divehi culture is a conglomeration of a variety of influences. The influence of medieval Sinhalas is the dominant cultural stream. Between the 8th to the 10th century, unwanted kings and their retinues were apparently banished from Sri Lanka to the Maldives, and they brought their culture, language, and religion with them. There are several remains of Buddhist stupas (excavated by Bell), with coins, inscriptions, and various artifacts. (Maloney 1995)

Research by Michael O’Shea also shows early cultural links of the fishing and coconut cultivating people of South India. Close contact with these cultures also influenced the belief system. O’Shea claims that beliefs in Devi, demons, sorcery, male sacrifice and the power of tantric practices were once common place.

Maloney also claims that is also a “strong underlying layer of Tamil population and culture