A sense of festivity is abundant. A quietness fills the air at the thatched Maldivian village as the artisans prepare their tools and the performers practice their age-old rhythms. Coinciding with the sacred Eid-Al-Adha, Amilla Maldives eagerly awaits to raise the white crescent flag of the islanders and begin the Maldivian Cultural Week, a week of festivities celebrating the sounds, colours, and elements of the Maldivian islands.
The Cultural Week at Amilla Maldives offered enticing travellers a slice of Authentic Maldivian culture. Jam-packed with workshops, games, performances, and feasts. The lush island of Amilla Maldives invited guests on a trip through Maldivian heritage, culture, and history.
“We are excited to become one of the first resorts to dedicate an entire week paying homage to the Maldivian culture and spirit. As a fully Maldivian owned resort, it is our duty to celebrate the elements of Maldives that make this archipelago such an incredibly unique destination. We hope that travellers experience a slice of authentic paradise and take back with them those elements of exhilarating joy, togetherness, the strength of community and of course, a longing to return,” stated Victoria Kruse, Sustainability and Wellness Mentor at Amilla Maldives.
The traditional thatched hut village took centre stage during the cultural week. A stroll through the charming village offered travellers a glimpse into the incredibly rich and colourful craftwork of the Maldivian people. One must witness in real life the wooden lacquer work to appreciate the subtle crimson hues twisting and intertwining against the deep darkness.
Amilla invited Ibrahim Solih, a third-generation artisan, from Baa Thulhaadhoo to showcase his craftwork and conduct lacquer workshops for the artistically inclined guests. The master artisan of lacquer and his incredibly talented wife demonstrated the sheer expertise, skill, and knowledge one requires to produce the astonishing wooden lacquer work. They elegantly showed that the historical method of producing these objects was a two-person job, highlighting the value of teamwork and community strength that is integral to the Maldivian way of life.
Festivities such as the Maldives Cultural week at Amilla plays a crucial role in celebrating and kindling the arts and crafts of Maldives.
Ibrahim, who had previously showcased his products and talents at renowned fairs such as Arabian Travel Market and ITB Berlin, humbly states that a culture remains colourful and eclectic through the celebration of traditional arts and crafts.
Traditional craftwork intermingled with contemporary artists as ‘Maskula’ and Lanala Swimwear took centre stage as two pop-up brands during the week. Maskula (Fish Colors) delicately creates sarongs, kurtas, dresses and unique batik scarves inspired by the intricate geometry, patterns, colours and essence of tropical fish and marine ecosystems.
The mesmerising products of Maskula capture the strange and eclectic variety of life teeming below the crystalline waters of Maldives. Joined alongside Maskula, Lanala Swimwear offered eco-conscious swimwear made mostly from recycled fabric for those interested in eco-conscious swimwear
The festivities and workshops extended well beyond the traditional village. At Amilla’s ‘Alchemy Bar’, guests can get their hands dirty (just a little) and create their own bottle of “Theyo Beys balm”, a healing concoction inspired by traditional Dhivehi medicine.
Amilla sends out apprentices to neighbouring islands to practice and learn under traditional healers and medicine-makers, hoping they can return and offer products and experiences inspired by the millennia-old traditional Maldivian medicine. After all, the diverse flora and fauna across the island is a treasure trove of medicine for those skilled in identifying plants and their medicinal usages.
“Influenced from Ayurvedic medicine as well medicine and healing from North Africa, Traditional Maldivian medicine is an incredibly ancient form of healing that recognises the mind-body unity. As we step into an era of increasing stress, fatigue and diseases of mind and body, it is crucial that we become skilled in the art of utilising the flora and fauna of the Maldives alongside modern medicine,” stated Laura Pagano, spa manager and apprentice to a renowned traditional Maldivian medicine practitioner.
"Thamburu & Mirihi’’ and “Masgulha Filuva Beys”, two of the most sought-after Maldivian medicine inspired treatments utilises local herbs and spices such as fonithoshi, mirus, aseymirus, karanfoo, and other healing plants to detoxify as well as treat discomforts such as muscle stiffness, neck and back pain, swelling, heaviness and so on.
Adding onto the list of activities, Amilla offered guests the opportunity to build a ‘bodumas’, the mythical sea spirit that is a staple of the Eid festivities. The ‘Bodumas making’ session brought people together once again celebrating the strength of community and creativity that is so integral to the Eid festivities.
The community at Amilla rose the Bodumas to life and embarked on a parade across the winding, lush pathways of the island. Joined by staff, guests, local artisans, boduberu drummers and dancers, the parade concluded in a crescendo of hypnotising music and frenzied dancing.
The renowned and talented performer Nish Nashid and the local keyboard virtuoso Hussain Hisan serenaded the guests with local classics during the Gala dinner. The expert chefs at Amilla prepared a feast combining the taste of the tropics with flavours and aroma of neighbouring countries. Words cannot capture the essence, aroma and deep richness of the cuisines at Amilla Maldives. From mouth-watering delicious sashimi at the signature restaurant ‘Feeling Koi’ to the culinary centre of ‘The Bazaar’, Amilla Maldives can rightfully claim the status of a gastronomical paradise in paradise.
Let you in on a little secret? Rumour claims that the Chill’d Cafe at Amilla serves free ice cream.
With workshops ranging from Dhivehi lessons, short eats and mas riha cooking class, boduberu lessons, as well as games such as bashi and thin mugoali, the guests at Amilla Maldives will fly back home with a slice of paradise in their hearts.
The week at Amilla Maldives brought together the staff, guests, local artisans, and musicians to celebrate community and togetherness. Undoubtedly, the locals experienced a sense of longing and nostalgia while the guests found themselves in the middle of perhaps one of the most exciting festivities in Maldives. And the guests took part in the workshops, games, and performances with a sense of deep curiosity and wonder.
It is no surprise that the resort noted an overwhelmingly positive reception during the week. The Cultural Week at Amilla Maldives is a testament to the dedication, admiration and adoration of Maldivian culture expressed by the community at Amilla and beyond.
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