Bangladesh is a country of all the colors, cultures and festivals. Numerous occasions are held throughout the year. The country is full of diverse cultures, religions and races. Here, we bring you the 15 most popular festivals of Bangladesh.
1. Eid Ul Fitr:
This is the most joyful occasion of all Muslims across the country. Even, the non-Muslims like to join the celebration of Eid with everyone. The holy day comes after the month of Ramadan where the Muslim believers performed fasting for 30 days. It is believed that the Eid day is the blessing from Allah to enjoy the achievement after long 30 days’ fasting.
In the morning, all the mosques and fields are filled with people to perform the Eid Salat. Prior to that, they take shower, get ready wearing new Pajama-Panjabi and apply perfume. After finishing Eid prayer, they embrace each-other and finally leave the Eidgah compound. Next, everyone visit their families, neighbors and relatives and have delicious foods. Sweet desserts like Kheer, Payesh and also the heavy items like Biriyani, Korma are served throughout the day. In the evening, people go out and crowd the recreational places like Cinema, Wonderland, Bowling or Laser Tag. People enjoy 3 days Government holiday for Eid.
2. Eid Ul Adha:
This is another Eid for Muslims which occurs about 2 months after the Eid Ul Fitr. Likewise, people perform their Eid Salat in the morning. After returning from mosques they take some light breakfast. This is the holy Eid where they sacrifice their favorite animals for Allah. The streets are crowded with mostly cows and goats. After slaughtering those, people engage themselves in butchering the meat. Then the meat is distributed in 3 portions. One is for own, another one is for relatives and the rest of the part is distributed among poor people. By evening, the meat is cooked and people start having them and enjoy the taste of Eid with everyone.
3. Durga Puja:
Durga Puja is an annual festival for Hindu Believers. This occasion comes at the Hindu month of ‘Ashvin’ and lasts for 4 days. As you would expect, the event consists of family and social gatherings. Gifting to each-other, lighting and decorating houses are very common. People worship their Goddess Durga inside temples. They perform ancient religious singing and dancing and paste powder-color on each-other’s faces to bring the celebration mode on. Eventually, the process ends with idol immersion in the river.
4. Buddha Purnima:
Buddha Purnima is celebrated by Buddhist descent of the country to celebrate the birthday of Gautam Buddha. They observe it annually according to the Gregorian calendar. On this day, the Buddhist temples are decorated. A fair is held outside of temples. Also, some music containing Buddha’s message is played. Finally, the believers attend the prayer, light candles and recite the 3 jewels and 5 precepts.
Christmas or ‘Boro Din’ (The Big Day) in Bengali is celebrated among the Christian community as the birth of Jesus Christ. It is an annual occasion observed on 25th December. On this day, the houses are decorated beautifully with lights, flowers and ribbons. Christmas tree is made or bought from shops. Delicious foods are cooked. In fact, a grand dinner is organized at night. Neighbors and Relatives come to visit. Santa Claus, known as Father Christmas arrives at homes wearing red gown and spectacles with long white beard. Children love him as he brings gifts for them wrapped by colorful papers.
Less than 1% of the total population are Christian. You will be able to see the majority of them living in the hilly region of the country. The day is declared as public holiday.
Cultural & Traditional Festivals
6. Pohela Baishakh:
One of the cultures that Bengali people have been following with zeal for centuries, is Pahela Baishakh. This is the 1st day of Bengali New Year and the most popular occasion of Bangladesh. Both men and women are dressed in red and white. Girls wear Saree with colorful bangles and boys wear Panjabi. Various activities are held in many places throughout the day. Bengali foods like Panta Ilish (Hilsha fish and rice), various Pithas (cakes), Candy floss etc are presented in front of the visitors in the fair. Nagordola (Ferris wheel) is set up for amusement. Meanwhile, folk songs are played under Bot-tola (Banyan tree).
Over 10 thousand people march at ‘Mangal Shobhajatra’ (Procession for well-being) – a very old tradition that takes place at Dhaka University area. This rally reflects the Secularism of Bangladesh and the unity and indifference that bring all the races and religion together. Students of Dhaka University carry colorful handmade banners, festoons and massive art faces decorated with cock-sheet and paint.
7. Pohela Falgun:
Pahela Falgun is one of the most popular days in the Bengali Culture. Generally, this day is on the 13th February of the year. This is the 1st day of spring. People welcome this day wearing yellow and white. Some people buy flowers and present those to their loved ones. Bengali women set flower-crown around their head. They like to use variety of flowers but majorly Marigold as it has the color of Spring. The most beautiful Spring song “Basanta Esche Geche” (The Spring has arrived) is played everywhere from the morning. Cultural Institutes organize programs like dance shows and song performances.
Nabanna is the crop harvesting celebration among the farmers in rural areas. Farmers are happy because the crop is ready after the months of hard toiling. Lots of part-time work opportunity arises at rural areas especially at this time of the year. For instance, huge labor-force are appointed to cut the crops. The houses are filled up with new crops. The smell of new crop is found everywhere. Farmers then go to the market and sell the most part of their crops. They don’t get a good amount of money for their hard work for months. However, the return brings smile to their faces. Villagers celebrate the day with food, dance and music.
9. Nouka Baich:
Nouka Baich (Boat Rowing) is the traditional sport observed in rural areas. The participants of the same team, ranging from 10 to 20 passengers, ride in a long boat and paddle firmly to put their boat ahead of other participatory teams. This game occurs in the large rivers and people generally organize this kind of fun due to any local or national level success. Thousands of people gather to witness this program. There is a prize-money for the winner also which is handed-over by the local Chairman.
This event occurs annually in the capital, Dhaka, more specifically at the Old Town at the end of the Bengali month ‘Poush.’ The event is also known as ‘Poush Shankranti.’ It is a Kite festival. The skies of Old Town are crowded with colorful kites. This festival is very old and traditional. People from various places come to the Old Town to enjoy the scenes. The event starts from the afternoon. At evening, there are fireworks everywhere to maximize the pleasure. Delicious refreshments and DJ program are organized. Everyone drink and dance throughout the evening.
11. Jatiya Pitha Utsab:
Jatiya Pitha Utsab or National Cake Festival is a newly tradition started in the capital city, Dhaka. In winter, the sweet delicious pithas or cakes are made in the rural areas and send those to neighbors and relatives. But this culture is quite uncommon for the people in the capital. That is why to inject the rural pitha taste and culture in the urban area, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy has come up with this innovative idea to present those sweet cakes in front of the city people. This academy is known for rich art and culture. People, who have an appreciation for creativity and art, visit this Pitha Utsab and also enjoy the theater show and dance programs.
12. Joy Bangla Concert:
The concert is jointly organized by Young Bangla and center for Research and Information (CRI). This event takes place to remember the famous speech of the Father of the Nation – Bangabandhu Sheikh Majibur Rahman. To awaken the spirit of youth and to feel the liberation war and own country, the local bands perform numerous patriotic songs. Interestingly, this fair has always a huge attendance record although only youngsters tend to attend this event every year.
13. Ekushey Boi Mela:
Boi Mela or Book Fair is an annual event that takes place on the 21st February. This fair is the reflection of the International Mother Language Day in remembrance of the Language Martyrs who died in 1952, eventually had an impact on the independence of the country. The fair is held at Shahbag within Dhaka University area organized by Bangla Academy. People come in numbers in the fair which continues for 30 days. Writers, authors, poets, professors visit the place regularly. Fans collect their autographs; take pictures and exchange few words between them.
14. Dhaka International Trade Fair:
This is an annual fair which happens from the first day of New Year to the end of the month of January. Companies from Bangladesh and also the foreign ventures join this fair. This fair was actually introduced to make friendship with foreign companies and to send a message that Bangladesh is always welcoming to do business for the outsiders beyond the border. This is one of the biggest international trade fair in Asia. No surprises that over thousands of stalls and pavilions are installed. From food shops to clothes, to cosmetics to consumer products to electronic devices to automobiles to utensils – everything is found in this fair.
15. National Tree Fair:
The initiative was taken by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina. This fair was introduced to encourage the mass people to plant trees and promote gardening. In this hostile era of global warming, the importance of tree planting is inevitable. This fair has a duration of 30 days and takes place at Agargaon, Dhaka – the same place as Dhaka International Trade fair. About thousands of nursery owners participate in this fair to sell their plants. Thankfully, the response is also overwhelming. The busy urban people buy some time to visit the fair and purchase mostly the rooftop plants. Even, some are also fond of interior plants to enhance the beauty of their home.