Culture of Bangladesh

The Culture of Bangladesh is interconnected with the culture of the Bengal region. It has evolved over the centuries includes the cultural diversity of several social groups of Bangladesh. The ‘Bengal Renaissance of the 18th early 19th centuries, the Bengali writerssaintsauthors, scientists, researchers, thinkers, music composers, painters, film-makers have played a significant role in the development of Bengali culture. Bengal Renaissance was a culturalsocialintellectual and artistic movement in Bengal region during the period of the British Indian Empire.

The present cultures of Bangladesh are synthesis over the centuries have assimilated influences principally of Islam and HinduismBuddhism and Christianity has some influence as well. It is manifested in various forms, including music, dance, drama, art craft, folklore folktale, language literature, philosophy, religion, festivals celebration as well as in a distinct cuisine tradition. (https://en.wikipedia.org)

Throughout the first millennium AD in some Hindu texts Bengal is mentioned as a distinct region of South Asia. Islamic armies arrived in the region in the late twelfth centuries, and gradual Muslim conquest that concluded in Mughal rule after 1576—set the stage for widespread conversion of the local population to Islam, especially in eastern Bengal. Not long after, therefore, the British period of India’s history has started from England’s takeover of the administration of Bengal in 1757. Lasting until 1947, British rule had a profound impact on Bengali culture and society with the introduction of English as the medium of higher education since 1835. Hindus responded more rapidly than did Muslims to opportunities provided by English education, and the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw the rise of a highly Westernized elite, mostly Hindu in composition, whose intellectual accomplishments were attached with efforts at sociocultural and political reform. (https://en.wikipedia.org)

Bengali elites provided major leadership to the Indian nationalist movement as a whole, which began to develop in force after the mid-1800s. Bengali Hindus tended to support a nationalist party called the Indian National Congress in its vision of a free, secular India to follow British rule. The Muslims of Bengal were thus more attracted to another nationalist organization called the Muslim League, which in 1940 advocated a separate post-independence state for Muslims. The British agreed to India’s independence in 1947, at which time the subcontinent was partitioned into two separate nation-states: India, with a Hindu majority, and Pakistan, with a Muslim majority. The predominantly Hindu western districts of Bengal become part of India, whereas the mainly Muslim Districts of eastern Bengal become part of Pakistan called East Pakistan. (https://en.wikipedia.org) (www.everyculture.com)

Pakistan’s national unity was based on common religious identity of its citizens as Muslims, but it was undermined by the nation’s linguistic and cultural diversity and growing conflict between the country’s ethnic groups. Over time the Bengali Muslims of East Pakistan came into increasing confrontation with the non-Bengali Muslim groups of West Pakistan, where a preponderance of the economic wealth and political power of the country was concentrated. In 1971 the rift between East and West Pakistan erupted into a civil war, the National Liberation War for Bangladesh occurred leaded by Awami League and its leader Bangabandhu Shekh Mujibur Rahman. Most of the Bengalis and political parties of East Pakistan supported and participated into this independence war. As a result, on 16th December 1971 emergence a new nation, called Bangladesh. (www.everyculture.com)

The culture of Bengal has seen a lot of change. It has always been known for being multi-religious and multi-cultured. Two primary religions Islam and Hinduism are distinguished here. Christians, Buddhist also have always lived-in harmony. This multi-religious factor of Bengal has had an influential effect on its culture. This has transpired the language, the music, the books, the foods and almost everything. Culture of Bangladesh, the eastern part of Bengal is highly influenced by Muslim culture and West Bengal, the western part of Bengal, a state of India is influenced by Hindu traditions. The Bangladeshi culture reflects the behaviour of individuals, their dresses, occasions, languages, livelihood, dance, music, film, festivals, etc. (www.ipl.org)

Each of these religions has its culture and festivals, celebrates in very festive mood. Though religions are different, people of Bangladesh love to live with agreement each other. Every occasion is celebrated with the participation of each religious people. (www.ontaheen.com)

According to the religious believe, most of the population of Bangladesh are Muslims. Friday is the weekend day of Bangladesh because Muslims have their special prayer “Jummah” to this day. Eid ul Fitr, Eid ul Adha, Milad un-Nabi, Muharram are religious occasions nationally celebrated. Eid ul Fitr is the most important religious festival and biggest festive day in Bangladesh. Like other Muslim world, Eid ul Fitr is celebrated in Bangladesh with great joy.

Hindus are the second largest community of Bangladesh. Like Islamic festival, Bangladeshi Hindus also get the public holiday on their significant occasions. Durga Puja is the largest Hindu festival of Bangladesh as well as South Asia. The worship of Hindu Goddess Durga is celebrated ten days long. Not only Hindu people join on this occasion, but people of all religion participated on this occasion.

Though most of the people of Bangladesh are Muslims, second largest community is the Hindu, but people of other religion get equal respects and rights while celebrating their different religious occasion. Buddhist and Christians are minor in Bangladesh. But Buddha Purnima, A major festival of Buddhist, Christmas day is nationally observed. In those days, Bangladesh has public holidays.

Bangladesh has a golden political and cultural history. 21st February, International Mother Language day, 26th March, the Independence Day, 16th December, Victory day, Pahela Baishakh, the 1st day of Bengali New year warmly celebrated in Bangladesh.

21st February is one the most important day of Bengal’s history, this day has changed the course of Bengal and its language. In 1952 on 21st February Bengalis start the movement against the government of Pakistan for the Bengali Language. In that action numerus people sacrifice their lives. At last Pakistan government is forced to declare Bangla, as a state language of Pakistan. In the year of 1999, United Nations General Assembly provides recognition of the day and UNESCO first declared this day as ‘International Mother Language Day’. ‘Shaheed Minar’, a specific type of monument is the Symbol of Language Day. (www.ontaheen.com)

Bengali new year ‘Pohela Boishakh’, the 1st day of Bengal calendar plays an important role in Bengali Culture. The festival was a tradition introduced in Bengal during the rule of Mughal Emperor ‘Akbar’ to time the tax year to the harvest, and the Bangla year was therewith called Bangabda (Bangla New Year). It is the combination of the lunar Islamic calendar and solar Hindu calendar. The term Bangabda is also found in 7th century two Shiva temples many centuries older than Akbar era. These temples are terracotta temples located in Bankura district of West Bengal, India. These inscriptions suggest that the Bengali calendar may existed before Akbar’s time.

Pohela Boishakh is celebrated across religious boundaries by its Muslim majority and Hindu minority in Bangladesh on 14th April. The festival became a popular means of expressing cultural pride and heritage among the Bangladeshi as they resisted Pakistani rule. The day is marked with singing, processions, and fairs. Traditionally, businesses start this day with a new ledger, clearing out the old. Singers perform traditional songs welcoming the new year. People wear festive dress with women desking their hair with flowers, white-red colour combinations are particularly popular. Bangladeshis prepare and enjoy a variety of traditional festive foods on Pohela Boishakh. These include panta bhat (watered rice), ilish bhaji (fried hilsa fish) and many special vartas (pastes). This day also celebrate by the Bengali people in West Bengal, Tripura, some part of Assam and Urisshia in India in similar fashion.  (https://en.wikipedia.org)

BANZI celebrate Noboborsho in festive mood every year with various cultural programs, traditional foods, dresses by organising a ‘Boishakhi Mela’.