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 National Festivals

 

 

 

Festivals

Pahela Baishakh

Independence Day

21st Feb

Eid-e-Miladunnabi

Eid-ul-Fit

Eid-ul-Azha

Muharram

Durga Puja

Christmas

Rabindra & Nazrul Jayanti

Language

The Origin of Bangla Alphabet

The Oldest Records

International Mother Language Day

 

 

FESTIVALS

Pahela Baishakh: The advent of Bengali New Year is gaily observed throughout the country. The Day (mid-April) is a public holiday. Most colorful daylong gatherings along with arrangement of cultural program and traditional Panta at Ramna Park, Dhaka is a special feature of Pahela Baishakh. Tournaments, boat races etc. are held in cities and villages amidst great jubilation. Many fairs are held in Dhaka and other towns and villages.  

Independence Day:: March 26 is the day of Independence of Bangladesh. It is the biggest state festival. This day is most befittingly observed and the capital wears a festive look. It is a public holiday. The citizens of Dhaka wake up early in the morning with the booming of guns heralding the day. Citizens including government leaders and sociopolitical organizations and freedom fighters place floral wreaths at the National Martyrs Monument at Savar. Bangla Academy, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy and other socio-cultural organizations hold cultural functions. At night the main public buildings are tastefully illuminated to give the capital city a dazzling look. Similar functions are arranged in other parts of the country.

21st Feb, the National Mourning Day and World Mother Language Day: 21 February is observed throughout the country to pay respect and homage to the sacred souls of the martyrs' of Language Movement of 1952. Blood was shed on this day at the Central Shahid Minar (near Dhaka Medical College Hospital) area to establish Bangla as a state language of the then Pakistan. All subsequent movements including struggle for independence owe their origin to the historic language movement. The Shahid Minar (martyrs monument) is the symbol of sacrifice for Bangla, the mother tongue. The day is closed holiday. Mourning procedure begin in Dhaka at midnight with the song Amar vaier raktay rangano ekushay February (21st February, the day stained with my brothers' blood). Nationals pay homage to the  martyrs by placing flora wreaths at the Shahid Minar. Very recently the day has been declared World Mother Language Day by UNESCO.

Eid-e-Miladunnabi: Eid-e-Miladunnabi is the birth and death day of Prophet Muhammad (s). He was born and died the same day on 12th Rabiul Awal (Lunar Month). The day is national holiday, national flag is flown atop public and private houses and special food is served in orphanages, hospitals and jails. At night important public buildings are illuminated and milad mahfils are held.

Eid-ul-Fit: The biggest Muslim festival observed throughout the world. This is held on the day following the Ramadan or the month of fasting. In Dhaka big congregations are held at the National Eidgah and many mosques.

Eid-ul-Azha: Second biggest festival of the Muslims. It is held marking the Hajj in Mecca on the 10th Zilhaj, the lunar month. Eid congregations are held throughout the country. Animals are sacrificed in reminiscence of Hazrat Ibrahim's (AM) preparedness for the supreme sacrifice of his beloved son to Allah. It is a public holiday.

Muharram: Muharram procession is a ceremonial mournful procession of Muslim community. A large procession is brought out from the Hussaini Dalan Imambara on 10th Muharram in memory of the tragic martyrdom of Imam Hussain (RA) on this day at Karbala in Iraq. Same observations are made elsewhere in the country.

Durga Puja: Durga Puja, the biggest festival of the Hindu community continues for ten days, the last three days being culmination with the idol immersed in rivers. In Dhaka the big celebrations are held at Dhakeswari Temple, where a fair is also held and at the Ram Krishna Mission.

Christmas: Christmas, popularly called "Bara Din (Big Day)", is celebrated with pomp in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country. Several day-long large gatherings are held at St. Mary's Cathedral at Ramna, Portuguese Church at Tejgaon, Church of Bangladesh (Protestant) on Johnson Road and Bangladesh Baptist Sangha at Sadarghat Dhaka. Functions include illumination of churches, decorating Christmas tree and other Christian festivities.

Rabindra & Nazrul Jayanti: Birth anniversary of the noble laureate Rabindranath Tagore on 25th Baishakh (May) and that of the National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam on 11th Jaystha (May) are observed throughout the country. Their death anniversaries are also marked in the same way. Big gatherings and song sessions organized by socio-cultural organizations are salient features of the observance of the days. Tagore is the writer of our national anthem while National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam is famous as Rebel Poet.

LANGUAGE

Bangla is the official language of Bangladesh. It is also spoken in West Bengal. Bangalees protected Bangla from the clutches of Pakistani oppressors in 1952 by preventing Urdu from being the state language of East Pakistan where a vast majority of people spoke in Bangla. Bangalees had to sacrifice lives for their mother tongue on 21st February, 1952. 21st February being declared  International  Mother Language Day by UNESCO,  Bangla reached the peak of maturity.   

Evolution: Bangla's direct ancestor is a form of  Magadhi Prakrit or Middle Indo-Aryan which descended from Sanskrit or Old Indo-Aryan. Bangla evolved mainly  from Sanskrit. Also Hindi, Urdu, Farsi, English--all contributed lots of words and terms to form this language. 

The Origin of Bangla Alphabet::Bangla alphabet originated from Brahmi alphabet of the Asokan inscriptions. The Bangla script in its present printed form took shape in 1778 when printing types were first cast by Charles Wilkins. There still remained a few archaic forms and these were finally replaced in the middle of the nineteenth century.  

The Oldest Records: For old Bangla the only record is Charjapad discovered from a palace in Nepal by Haraprasad Shastri. It is a collection of the oldest verses thought to be the oldest records of Bangla literature. The language of Charjapad  is basically vernacular, but at the same time it is also something of a literary language.

Two Styles: Bangla at the present day has two literary styles. One is called "Sadhu Bhasha" and the other "Chalit Bhasa". The former is the traditional literary style based on Middle Bangla of the sixteenth century. The later is practically a creation of the present century, and is based on the cultivated form of the dialect and day-to-day talks. The difference between the two literary styles is not very sharp. The vocabulary is practically the same. The difference lies mainly in the forms of the pronoun and the verb. The Sadhu Bhasa has the old and heavier forms while the Chalit Bhasa uses the modern and lighter forms. The former shows a partiality for lexical words and for compound words of the Sanskrit type, and the latter prefers colloquial words, phrases and idioms. The Chalit Bhasa was first seriously taken up by Pramatha Chawdhury at the instance of Rabindranath Tagore during the early years of the first World War. Soon after Tagore practically discarded Sadhu Bhasa, and Chalit Bhasa is now generally favored by writers who have no particular fascination for the traditional literary style. 

International Mother Language Day: The UNESCO has declared 21st February as The International Mother Language Day to be observed globally in recognition of the sacrifices of the Bangla language martyrs who laid their lives for establishing the rightful place of Bangla. The proclamation came in the form of a resolution unanimously adopted at the plenary of the UNESCO at its headquarters in Paris in November 1999. In its resolution the UNESCO said-' 21st February be proclaimed International Mother Language Day throughout the world to commemorate the martyrs who sacrificed their lives on this very day in 1952.

It is a great tribute and glowing homage paid by the international community to the language martyrs of Bangladesh. The genesis of the historic Language Movement which ensued since September 1947 with the students in the vanguard backed by intellectuals, cultural activists and patriotic elements was the first spurt of Bangalee nationalistic upsurge culminating in the sanguinary events of February 21, 1952 and finally leading to the war of Liberation in 1971. 

The UNESCO in its resolution said-the recognition was given bearing in mind that all moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop fuller awareness about linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.

Henceforth UN member countries around the world will observe 21st February as the International Mother Language Day. The historic 21st February has, thus, assumed new dimension. The sacrifices of Rafiq, Salam, Jabbar, Barkat and other martyrs as well as of those tortured and repressed by the then authoritarian government of Pakistan for championing the cause of their mother tongue have received now a glorious and new recognition by the November 1999 resolution of the UNESCO.

Countries who gave support to the proposal of Bangladesh Govt. for declaring the 21st February as The International Mother Language Day are Malaysia, Banin, Bhahama, Balaroush, Comoros, Chili, Dominic Republic, Egypt, Gambia, Honduras, Italy, Iran, Micronesia, Oman, The Philippines, Papua Newgini, Pakistan, Paraguay, Russian Federation, Sir Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Surinam, Slovakia, Vanuatu, Indonesia, India, Ivoricost , Lithuania. 

Source: Bangladesh High Commission, Malaysia