Bangladesh is a country full of diversity and color. With its cultural diversity and secularism, people of different faith, nature, achievements and cultures live here. With such colors comes the diversity of festivals and celebrations.
In Bangladesh, there are four major categories: national events, religious festivals, cultural and tribal festivals. People of all walks of life participate and enjoy these enthusiastic festivals and days year round.
To know more about special days, check out this list of the major festivals and celebrations of Bangladesh.
1. Pohela Boishakh
Pohela Boishakh is the first day of the Bengali calendar which falls on 14th April of the Gregorian calendar. This day is part of the cultural heritage of our country. On this day, to welcome the new year, Bengali people feel new hope and celebrate the beginning of Bengali year.
Businessmen open new accounts, people wear new traditional clothes, visit family and friends and also arrange many fairs. Different cities like Dhaka, Chittagong and others hold grand fairs called Boshakhi Mela.
2. Eid Ul Fitr
Islam is the largest religion in Bangladesh. At the end of the Ramandan month, the muslims celebrate Eid Ul Fitr. A day full of blessing and celebration spreads across the country. People wear new clothes, the Eid Salat is prayed in grand congregations, people embrace each other and visit relatives and friends to share the joy. Bengali people traditionally make kheer, shemai, payesh and other special dishes for Eid.
3. Basanta Utsab
Basanta Utsab is the first day of spring. Marking the first day of Falgun of the Bengali year, this day falls in the mid-February of the Gregorian calendar. Yellow is the main color theme of this celebration. Women and girls in yellow saree or dresses adorn themselves with flowers. Men wear panjabi. People celebrate this day through different cultural programmes, fairs and exchange greetings among each other.
4. Amor Ekushey
Acknowledged by UNESCO in 1999, Amor Ekushey (immortal 21st) is the International Mother Language Day. To commemorate the language martyrs who sacrificed their lives to save the Bangla language on 21st February, 1952, this day is a national day.
With ceremonial processions, people visit the Shahid Minar with floral wreaths. Different prayers, cultural events, discussion meetings and other events take place to promote Bangla language and celebrate the recognition of the language.
5. Independence Day
Independence day on 26th March is the National Day. With great patriotic zeal, the Bengali people celebrate the declaration of independence from Pakistan which was declared in 1971. People celebrate this day with floral wreaths laid at the National Mausoleum at Savar.
Many fairs, special programs related to history and traditions of the country, concerts, parades and homages to freedom fighters take place on this day. People follow the green and red theme in their dress code and decoration with relation to the nation’s flag.
6. Durga Puja
Durga Puja is the biggest festival of the Hindu community in Bangladesh. Right at the beginning of the autumn season, this puja takes place with grand festivity. Colorful possessions and large puja Mandaps are set in different places of the country. Special celebrations are held at the Ram Krishna Missions and Dhakeshwari Temple.
7. Buddha Purnima
Buddha Purnima is the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha. It is the main festival of the Buddhists in Bangladesh who celebrate this day with great enthusiasm. Declared as a public holiday, it occurs on the full moon day in April. Religious festivals and rituals take place at Buddhist temples and monasteries. Different sweets and colorful decorations are prepared for this special day.
8. Victory Day
16th December is the Victory Day of Bangladesh. On this day in 1971, the Pakistan forces surrendered after a 9 month liberation war with Bangladesh. The official secession of Bangladesh being recognized as an independent state is a huge celebration for every Bengali. Every year on this day, huge cultural and national celebrations take place and with enthusiasm people celebrate being free.
9. Eid Ul Adha
Eid Ul Adha is the second Eid for Muslims. It occurs around 2 months after the Eid ul Fitr. It is the day of sacrifice where in the name of Allah, Muslims sacrifice animals like cows and goats. After the slaughtering, people divide the meat into 3 portions. One portion is divided among the poor and unprivileged, one is kept for own families and the other part is distributed among relatives. With great celebrations marking such a pious day, people enjoy Eid with great festivity and togetherness.
25th December is celebrated as Christmas. The Christians of Bangladesh celebrate this day with great enthusiasm and pomp. Churches are decorated and visited for large prayers. Colorful lighting is seen around the country and hotels and restaurants decorate large Christmas trees for the people.
Whether you are a Bengali or a foreigner, the cultural, festive and celebratory days of Bangladesh will surely win your heart and make you see the beauty and joy of these days celebrating among Bengali people. Don’t forget to celebrate these festivals and celebrations of Bangladesh if you visit or stay in the country.