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Traditional Festivals and Holidays in Bangladesh

 
A school boy runs with a Bangladeshi flag during a performance to celebrate the 36th anniversary of Victory Day in Dhaka stadium December 16, 2007. Bangladesh won independence from Pakistan on this day following a nine month war in 1971. REUTERS/Rafiqur Rahman (BANGLADESH)

A school boy runs with a Bangladeshi flag during a performance to celebrate the 36th anniversary of Victory Day in Dhaka stadium December 16, 2007. Bangladesh won independence from Pakistan on this day following a nine month war in 1971. REUTERS/Rafiqur Rahman (BANGLADESH)

Much of the traditioanal festivities in Bangladesh revolve around the Bengali Year, the most important of them being the Bengali New Year or Pawhela Boishakh celebrations. The day is celebrated with much pomp and funfair. The picture to your left depicts a colorful rally in Dhaka City on that day. The Bengali New Year begins at dawn, and the day is marked with singing, processios, and fairs. Traditionally, businesses start this day with a new ledger, clearing out the old. Fiats and festivals are held all over the country, where singers sing traditional songs welcoming the New Year. Food vendors sell traditional foods and artisans sell traditional handicrafts.

The Bengali Calendar is based on ancient sub-continental calendars which was codified and standardized by the Mughal Emperor Akbar about 6 centuries ago. The start date of the Begali calendar was made to coincide with the start date of the Islamic calendar (i.e. the date of Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) Hejira). The calendar is a solar one, which is composed of six seasons that revolve around the region’s agricultural cycle.

Another traditional day (though not a national holiday) is Pawhela Falgoon, the first day of spring, which is observed across the country through traditional festivities and colourful programmes. Spring fairs, cultural programmes and exchanges of greetings and gifts among friends and beloved ones mark the day. People from all walks of life throng the venues of different programmes wearing colorful dresses including traditional ‘spring sarees’ and ‘Panjabi’. Other programmes of the day include exchange of flowers, gifts and ‘Rakhi-Bandhan’, and poetry recitations.

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