Bordered by India on the west and Myanmar on the south, Bangladesh is one of the countries in South Asia which has displayed significant advancement in economic and political growth as well as other aspects of development including human, social, health and education.
The country showcases its world class attractions with Sunderbans as the longest mangrove forest to Cox’s Bazar as the largest sea beach. Tiptoe on the Chittagon Hill Tract and you will gain a different hiking and climbing experience as well as witnessing the country’s colorful tribal life and the one of a kind Royal Bengal Tiger.
One of the most densely populated countries, Bangladesh continues to rise on a rapid development amidst previous issues on political, economic and social conflicts. The country has whole year round festivities where you can experience how it is known for having rich religious festivals and unique cultural traditions.
Eid e-Milad-un Nabi – January 4, Sunday
The Muslim community observes this celebration which is the birth anniversary of their last prophet, Muhammad. There is a significant crowd in major cities of the country for processions. Mosques and homes are also decorated. This festivity for Muslims is their expression of love for their prophet Muhammad. Recital poems and hymns are pronounced to praise the prophet. Bangladesh flag is also hoisted in all public offices across the country.
Language Martyr’s Day or Sahid Dibash – February 21, Saturday
The country is celebrating this event every 21st of February to commemorate the Bengali Language Movement in 1952 where sacrifices and protests occurred to protect Bengali as the country’s national language. For the sake of language that many lives have been sacrificed. To honor this one of the most significant days in the country’s history, glorious celebrations are held including the offering of flowers and leis on the monuments of the martyrs while flags are raised on half-mast. Alos, to raise more awareness on today’s generation, slogan, essay writing and other competitions are held across the schools in the country.
Sheik Mujibur Rahman’s Birthday – March 17, Tuesday
Bangladesh celebrates the birthday of their nationalist leader, Sheik Majibur Rahman who was also the first president during the Bangladesh Liberation War prior of becoming the Prime Minister during the Independent Bangladesh. To remember this day, the country offers due respect to Father of Bangabandhu through documentary film showing, laying of floral wreath on the Bangabandhu’s mural as well as rally and programs are held. Schools also encourage essay writing contests.
Independence Day – March 26, Thursday
This day commemorates the official declaration of the country’s independence from Pakistan last 1971 lead by the country’s Father of Bangabandhu, Sheik Mujibur Rahman. The celebration is specifically associated with ceremonies, parties and political state affairs. Also, the national flag is decorated on the streets all over the country. The most prestigious state award is likewise given by the government to the outstanding citizen or organization that has done significant contributions in various fields of the country’s development. A thirty-one gun salute is held in the morning while patriotic songs and special programs are aired and broadcast in various media channels.
Bengali New Year Day or Pohela Boishakh- April 14, Tuesday
At the break of dawn, Bangladesh people starts to celebrate the coming of the New Year based on Bengali Calendar. You will see colorful celebrations that symbolize the grandeur of the festivity. Throughout the country, the Bangla culture is being organized with several band performances and cultural programs. Boat racing, wrestling bull racing and cockfights are some of the activities done in various parts of the country. Colorful processions are also held while most people wear new clothes for socialization. Ethnic groups in Chittagong Hill also merge in the observance of this celebration.
May Day – May 1, Friday
The solidarity of workers all over the world is also commemorated in Bangladesh. This is usually the rest day for worker. Some groups organize protests and demonstrations in major cities especially at Dhaka demanding for higher salary wage, safety at work and other protests against inequality to workers.
Buddha Purnima/Vesak – May 4, Monday
This is one of the biggest religious celebrations for Buddhist followers in the country. Also known as Buddha Purnima’s birthday, this is commemorated on the full moon of the first month based on the Bangla calendar. Sermons are held in temples on the life of the Buddha, discourses of the Tipitaka are chanted, group meditations are practiced and the flags are found atop temples. Candles, flowers, incense and puja are offered in the temples and special offers are offered for global peace and prosperity. Buddhist followers make time for family and friends gatherings while some take this event for charity works such as giving foods and clothing to the disadvantages people as well as paying medical expenses of the less fortunate.
Shab e-Barat or Night of the Records – June 4, Thursday
The Islamic countries in the world commemorate this day and one of the most sacred observances in Bangladesh. This day is celebrated with high respect where the Muslim community in Bangladesh pray the whole night for they believed that it is the best time for fortune and forgiveness. Islamic groups likewise organize religious discussions and recitations from the Holy Quran.
Night of Destiny or Laylat al-Qadr-July 13,Monday
More time is devoted by many Muslims in reading the Quran during this day. For Muslims this is the night in which their last prophet Muhammad has received Allah’s last words and wrote them down in the Quran. Either in retreat to mosques or on their privacy, Muslims praise Allah and observe fasting.
Jumatul Bidah – July 17, Friday
Based on the Islamic calendar, this is the last Friday of the month of Ramadan. Compared to other Fridays of the year, this Friday has the highest regards among Muslims. For Muslim community, is day is the day where prayers are accepted. Large number of Islam flowers proceeds to mosques and attend prayers. The Baitul Mokarram Mosque in Dhaka is where the biggest celebration in Bangladesh is held.
Eid ul-Fitr – July 19-21, Sunday to Tuesday
This days-long celebration is one of the very significant religious festivals among Muslims. People go to mosques or open fields for prayers. After the offering of prayers, they return to their homes or visit other homes and eat shirni, a sweet dish or other special dishes. Eid festivals are also observed nationwide with exciting fanfares like boat racing, cricket, kabbadi, football and other traditional Bangladesh games.
National Mourning Day – August 15, Saturday
Every year on the 15th of August, this day is commemorated. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibor Rahman was brutally assassinated along 18 members of his family and close friends including his wife. Bangladesh flag is raised half-mast with the laying down of flowers and leis on the funerals of the Bangabandhu and other members who were assassinated. Memorial activities are also held.
Janmashtami – September 5, Saturday
This day is highly celebrated among Hindus for this is the birth of their deity Lord Krishna or known as Janmashtami. Hindus are fasting and stay awake until midnight which is believed to be the time of Krishna’s birth. Readings of religious scriptures are conducted in Hindu temples with devotional songs and praises.
Eid ul-Adha – September 24-26, Thursday to Saturday
Among the majority of Muslims around the world, this days-long celebration is highly regarded with religious commemorations. This is also popularly called the “Feast of Sacrifice” where Abraham made sacrifices in the name of his devotion to the Almighty. In Bangladesh, Muslims chose a healthy and good aged animal to be sacrificed. Morning prayers are offered until the last day of the celebration on the third day. Devotion and faith to God is shown through prayers, sacrifices and feast.
Ashura – October 24, Saturday
This day is remembered by Shi’a Muslims to honor the martyrdom of Muhammad’s grandson, Husayn ibn Ali at the 10th day in the month of Muharram (Ashura) during the Battle of Karbala. Mourning rituals are held and popular elegies are composed by poets to commemorate massacre of Husayn and group which caused a religious impact among Muslims. Prose and poetry are narrated during ceremonies which have touched the hearts and tears of many Shi’a Muslims.
Victory Day – December 16, Wednesday
During Bangladesh Liberation War in the year 1971 on the 16th day of December is the commemoration of the turnover of Allied Forces High Command over Pakistan. This is to celebrate victory after 9 months war from Pakistan forces with enormous bloodshed to regain the country’s independence. Programs are held elsewhere in the nation initiated by public, private and education institutions. The national flag will be hoist in various establishments. Special prayers and flowers are offered in mosques, temples and other religious places. The celebration will start at sunrise with the execution of the 31 gun salute though cannon fires.
Eid e-Milad-un Nabi – December 24, Thursday
Across the globe, this day is celebrated among Muslim community. This is one of the most sacred days for Muslims in Bangladesh as they commemorate the birthday of the last prophet Muhammad. Quran Tilawat, milad mahfil and other religious, cultural and political activities to honor this day. This is also to remember the good deeds of the prophet. Due respect is given to this special day where Muslims spend the whole night for prayers.
Christmas Day – December 25, Friday
Like any other nations in the world, Christmas is also celebrated among Christians of Bangladesh. Colorful and vibrant decorations are found at home. As this is the most festive celebration among Christians, attending of special masses and programs are held reflecting the birth of Jesus Christ. Exchanging gifts is also done while Christmas jingles and carols are sung along with the display of enchanting lights and Christmas trees. Families and friends share festive meal as well as giving donations to desperate neighbors.
Now that you have a run through of the public holidays in Bangladesh, make your visit more memorable by making your reservations earlier. Enjoy a different experience of Bangladesh ways and cultures as you explore their world’s greatest attractions.
Photo by Ariful Islam