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Jun 24th
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Fairs and Festivals

Bangladesh is a country where colourful fairs and festivals are held throughout the year in a befitting manner and with great zeal and zest. With changes in social and economic structures, the nature of festivals also changes, but some festivals are so deeply rooted in the social organism that they continue to entertain people from generation to generation. Some of the festivals bear the mark of the community and nation, some have the stamp of religion, and again some bear the impress of politics.

Festivals, which evolved in the primitive society out of the prayer for food, have now become varied and colourful. The main foundation of festivals is ritual and most of the ancient rituals were collective activities. Many of the rituals were related to agriculture and their dates were determined according to the lunar calendar. The ancient rituals were magical processes to tame supernatural powers; in subsequent cultures, this characteristic feature was usually retained. The spontaneous agro-based ancient festivals lost their spontaneity with the passage of time and became more formal.

There is no reliable information about the historical origin of fairs but researchers claim that they started about 3000 years back. It is certain, though, that the early fairs expressed the collective joy of the ancient people. Today fairs are a mix of tradition and modernity. Some of the major fairs are described below.



Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha Print E-mail

The main Muslim festivals are Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha. From time to time folk culture has influenced these festivals, as a result of which the original religious practices have changed. Eid-ul-Fitr is observed after the end of the month of Ramadan.

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Durga Puja Print E-mail

The biggest religious festival of the Hindu community in Bangladesh is the festival of Durga Puja. Hindus participate in this festival with great devotion. Durga Puja is an old festival but it is difficult to say with any degree of certainty exactly how old it is. 

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Buddha Purnima, Baisakhi Purnima and Christmas day Print E-mail

Apart from the Hindus, there are also two other minority religions communities in Bangladesh, viz., the Christians and the Buddhists, who observe religious festivals of their own. 

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Baisakhi Mela Print E-mail

Celebrations of Pahela Baisakh started from Emperor Akbar's reign. It was customary to clear up all the year's dues on the last day of Chaitra (the twelfth month of the Bengali calendar). On the following day, or the first day of the new year, landlords would entertain their tenants with sweets. On this occasion fairs used to be organized there. 

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Amor Ekushey Grontho Mela (Book Fair) Print E-mail

Amor Ekushey February is a historic day for the Bengali nation. On that day five valiant sons of this country laid down their lives to win recognition for Bangla as a State language. 

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Muharram Print E-mail

Muharram or the 'sacred month' is the first month of the Islamic or Hijri calendar. The tenth day of Muharram is called Ashura. Imam Husain (R) the grandson of the Holy Prophet (SM) was killed on this day at the hands of the troops of Yazid. 

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Baisabi Festival Print E-mail

Baisabi FestivalBaisabi is the main social festival of the indigenous people living in the hill districts of Rangamati, Bandarban and Khagrachhari. This festival is celebrated by the Chakma and Tanchyanga as "Biju", by Marmas as "Shangrai", Tripuras as "Baisuk" or "Baisu". 

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Dubla Rash Mela Print E-mail

Dubla Rash Mela is not only a big fair for Bagerhat, it is undoubtedly one of the biggest fairs in the country. At the centre of the festival are twenty thousand temporary fishermen who are engaged in catching and drying fish on Dubla and nearby islands. In the Bangla month of Agrahayan every year, the fair continues for 5-7 days during full moon time. 

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Fair of Adinath Print E-mail

Moheshkhali is an island under Cox's Bazar district not very far from the mainland. There, the Adinath temple at the top of Mainak hillock is a place of worship for Hindu devotees. A landlord named Nur Mohammad Shikdar donated 200 acres of land to reconstruct the age-old Adinath Temple. The fair associated with the temple started from that time. 

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Golakandail Fair Print E-mail

From the 1st day of the Bengali month of Mag - 7, a fair is held in Golakandail village of Rupganj upazila under Narayanganj district for seven days under a big banyan tree. Nobody knows the origin of the fair but it has continued for ages and is full of fun and festivity.

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Gurpukur Fair Print E-mail

Every year the last day of the Bengali month of Bhadra is the occasion for worshipping the snake goddess (Monsha Puja), and a fair is held on the occasion at Shatkhira in a place named Gurpukur. 

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Shib Chaturdashi Fair Print E-mail

A thousand-year-old Shiva temple stands at the top of the Chandranath hill located at Sitakunda in Chittagong where many other old temples are also situated in various parts of the 500 metre high hill. Thousands of devotees gather in the temple at night on 14th Falgun. The famous fair of Shib Chaturdashi continues for three days following religious rituals. 

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Langalbandh Fair Print E-mail

Every year on the 8th day of the Iunar month falls in the Bengali month of Chaitra, thousands of Hindu devotees from home and abroad assemble on the banks of the old Brahmaputra river for Astami snan, a ritual bath in the river. On the occasion, a three-day fair is held in this place, starting before the day of Ashtami snan (Bath) and ending a day after the bathing ceremony. 

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Kothin Chibor Dan Fair Print E-mail

'Kothin Chibor Dan' is a Buddhist ceremony on which occasion 'viksus' are given 'chibor' or cloth to wear. Buddhists believe that this is the best of all gifts. Chibor, the cloth that viksus wear, may be of any six colours: those of a tree's roots, trunk, bark, dry leaves, fruit or flower. 

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Fair of Ghoshbila Print E-mail

The fair is also known as Baruni fair. In fact, there is a ghat in the village Ghoshbila under Alamdanga upazila of Chuadanga district which is considered a holy place by the Hindus as a legend says that the goddess Ganga once appeared here. Since then a fair has been organized at that place to commemorate the day of her arrival. 

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Fair of Ashwin Sankranti Print E-mail

One of the renowned fairs of Rajshahi is held in a village of Durgapur upazila named Khulshi. The fair is held on the bank of the river for the first three days of the Bengali month of Ashwin. 

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Children's Amusement Fair Print E-mail

The Children's Academy has been organizing a children's amusement fair since 1978 in Dhaka. Usually the fair is organized in the open space in front of the Academy. Many stalls full of books, science exhibits, cane products, handicrafts, pottery, hand stitched items, children's art and wall newspaper are the attractions of the fair. 

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Baul Mela Print E-mail

On the occasion of Lalon Shah's birthday, the folk singers (Bauls) perform Lalon's songs, usually under a banyan tree or on the bank of a river near a village and a group of people organize a fair at the spot. Rural musical instruments, handicrafts, pottery, light snacks and household items are available in the fair which runs for three days or in some places one week or even longer than that. 

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