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2017 Durga Puja in Bangladesh

Bangladesh which is formed by the partition of Bengal still follows the culture of West Bengal. The Hindus belonging to the Bangladesh is mostly Bengalese and they celebrate the Durga Puja in Bangladesh with the same enthusiasm of the Bengalese in West Bengal state of India. Durga the goddess of power is depicted in the idol as lion-borne and with weapons in her hand. Mahishsura will be seen at her feet killed by using her trident. In Bangladesh the stage where worship of Durga is done on the puja days is called puja mandap. Thousands of Durga Puja pandals/mandaps will be built across the country by devotees and associations to do the puja. In Bangladesh big celebrations occur in Dhakeshwari temple in Dhaka. This temple is the national temple of this country. It is believed that the deity is none other than goddess Durga. Bangladesh Durga Puja is famous among Non-Resident Bangladeshi who lives in other parts of the world.

Large mandaps/pandals for worship is built on public places like mandirs and bazaars and puja is conducted for five days starting from Mahashashti or the sixth day of the festival. It is believed that Durga reaches earth on this day. The various rituals are performed by experienced priests. Due to communal problems in the recent years Durga puja is done under tight security. The important days of Durga Puja are the maha sapthami, maha ashtami and mahanavami. on the last day the idol is immersed in water.

The national head and other prominent personalities give Durga pooja wishes and messages to the people celebrating the puja festival. A state function called Bhangabhaban or the bijaya dasami reception is conducted at the president’s palace. This shows how important this has become for the Bangladeshis. This festival shows the triumph of goodness over the evil and people believe that by praying to goddess Durga we can get rid of the evilness and bring good thoughts in to our mind that make us stronger.

Durga Puja Pandals in Bangladesh

1) Ramakrishna Mission, Dhaka
2) Dhakeshwari National Temple
3) Kantaji Temple Dinajpur
4) Shree Hari Mandir Gopalganj
5) Joy Kali Mondir
6) Ram Kirshno Mission Temple
7) shivpali Dhaka
8) Jeshoreshwari Kali Temple
9) Ramna Kali Mandir
10) Naat Mandir Jagannath Hall
11) Siddheshwari Kali Mondir

Durga Puja are also held in Khulna, Chittagong, Barisal, Mymensingh, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Kadhiresan, Lalbagh, Chittakang temple, Dhaka University, Puthia, Gendaria, Tanti Bazar, Shankhari Bazar, Bangla Bazar, Monipuri Para, Khamar Bari, Farmgate, Faridpur etc

Hinduism in Bangladesh
In Bangladesh, Hinduism is the second largest religion followed by people. More than 9.2% people follow this religion in Bangladesh. After India and Nepal, Bangladesh is in third position in the number of Hindus present in the country. Bangladesh was united with West Bengal, an Indian state till 1947. So, the practices and customs of the Hindus in West Bengal and Bangladesh show similarity. Like their Indian counterparts, Bangladeshi Hindus worship Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu either in the form of Rama or Krishna and goddess in the form of Durga or Kali. The sufi tradition of Islam and the Hinduism has interacted very well with each other in Bangladesh. The government also gives the necessary support to the Hindus living there. Even though it is a Muslim majority country there is a temple called Dhakeshwari temple which is owned by the government. This temple has been recognized as the national temple of Bangladesh in 1996.

The Bangladeshi Hindus also worship rivers, mountains, spirits, stones and animals. Hindus practice ritual bath and offering of daily prayers to the idols. Many Hindus do not have any problem in worshipping at the Muslim pirs. Hindus also respect holy men or ascetics and visit them for offering prayers. They follow the principle of “ahimsa” and do not eat beef. This doesn’t mean that all the Hindus in Bangladesh are vegetarians. Even the upper caste of Hindus in Bangladesh does not follow abstinence from meat like the Brahmins in India. The Bangladeshi Brahmins eat fish and chicken. In West Bengal the Indian state from which Bangladesh is formed the practice is observed in the upper- castes. Though the Muslim people of Bangladesh are tolerant to other religions in the country, some recent anti- social activities has tarnished this image of the country.

Culture of Bangladesh
Bangladesh has a rich and varied culture from that of its neighboring countries. The culture of Bangladesh is influenced by Hinduism, Islamism, and Buddhism etc. The culture is manifested with music, dance, festivals, folklore, art, craft, religion and philosophy. There is a distinct culinary tradition in Bangladesh. Though the music and dance style has influence of Indian subcontinent, they have developed their own distinct style. The music tradition includes, Baul, Bhawaiya, Marfati etc. The culture of Bangladesh includes festivals like Pohela Baishakh, Christmas, Eid- ul- Fitar, Muharram, Eid- ul Azha and Durga puja. The entire people celebrate the festivals of other communities. As Bangladesh has Muslim majority, Eid-ul Fitr is the most widely celebrated festival. Pohela Baishakh marks the staring of the crop season. It is a festival related to agriculture. It is celebrated on the 14th of April every year. Agricultural fairs occur in many part of the country. Bull fights, bull races, cockfights and horse races are common during this time of the year.

The official language of Bangladesh is Bangla and it has own script developed from Sanskrit. The vocabulary shows strong influence of Islamic culture. Bangladeshi culture shows hierarchical society and elders are respected. The decisions in family as well as business are made by the senior male. The businesses are mostly family owned. The customs and etiquettes are different. Members of the same sex only greet each other. Female are not usually greeted by males. People are addressed according to the hierarchical position. Most of the people eat food with their hands and if invited or a meal, it is a common practice to share food from common platter. The staple food of Bangladesh constitute of boiled rice served with fish or meat. The sweets are mostly milk based. So, Bangladesh has immense diversity in culture and the people are very resilient in nature. The people are free to perform religious ceremonies according to their belief. The important religious festivals are declared national holiday by the government.

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