Bangladesh

2013-08-19 15:09:28

About Bangladesh
 
The People's Republic of Bangladesh is a country in South Asia. It is bordered by India on three sides, Myanmar to the southwest and the Bay of Bengal forms the southern coastline. Together with the Indian state of West Bengal, it comprises the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal. The name Bangladesh means "Country of Bengal". The borders of Bangladesh were set by the Partition of India in 1947, when it became the eastern wing of Pakistan (East Pakistan), separated from the western wing by 1,600 km (1,000 miles). Despite their common religion, the ethnic and linguistic gulf between the two wings was compounded by an apathetic government based in West Pakistan. This resulted in the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, after a bloody war supported by India. The years following independence have been marked by political turmoil, with thirteen different heads of government, and at least four military coups.
   The population of Bangladesh ranks 8th in the world, but its area is ranked 93rd, which is approximately 144,000 sq km. It is 3rd among Muslim-majority nations, though it has a slightly smaller Muslim population than the Muslim minority in India. It is also one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

Music, Dance, Drama, and Film
 
The music and dance styles of Bangladesh may be divided into three categories: classical, folk, and modern.
    The classical style has been influenced by other prevalent classical forms of music and dances of the Indian subcontinent, and accordingly show some influenced dance forms like Bharata Natyam and Kuchipudi.
The folk and tribal music and dance forms of Bangladesh are of indigenous origin and rooted to the soil of Bangladesh. Several dancing styles in vogue in the north-eastern part of the Indian subcontinent, like monipuri and santal dances, are also practiced in Bangladesh, but Bangladesh has developed its own distinct dancing styles. Bangladesh has a rich tradition of folk songs, with lyrics rooted into vibrant tradition and spirituality, mysticism, and devotion. Such folk songs also revolve round several other themes, including love themes. Most prevalent of folk songs and music traditions include Bhatiali, Baul, Marfati, Murshidi, and Bhawaiya. Lyricists like Lalon Shah, Hason Raja, Kangal Harinath, Romesh Shill, Abbas Uddin, and many unknown anonymous lyricists have enriched the tradition of folk songs of Bangladesh.
    In relatively modern context, Robindro Shongit and Nazrul Giti form precious cultural heritage of Bangladesh. In recent time, western influences have given rise to several quality rock bands, particularly in urban centers like Dhaka. Several musical instruments, some of them of indigenous origin, are used in Bangladesh, and major musical instruments used are the bamboo flute (bashi), drums (dhol), a single stringed instrument named ektara, a four stringed instrument called dotara, and a pair of metal bawls used for rhythm effect called mandira, are important in the culture of Bangladesh. Currently, several musical instruments of western origin like guitars, drums, and the saxophone are also used, sometimes alongside with traditional instruments.

Festivals and Celebrations
 
Festivals and celebrations are an integral part of the culture of Bangladesh. Prominent and widely celebrated festivals are Pohela Boishakh (May 27th), Independence Day (March 26th), Durga puja (October 9th), Eid ul-Azha, Eid ul-Fitr (As the most important religious festival for the majority of Muslims, the celebration of Eid ul-Fitr has become a part of the culture of Bangladesh. The government of Bangladesh declares the holiday for three days on Eid-ul Fitr. All outgoing public transports from the major cities have become highly crowded and in many cases the fares tend to rise in spite of government restrictions).
Pohela Boishakh
    Pohela Boishakh is the first day of the Bengali calendar. It is usually celebrated on the 14th of April. Usually on Pôhela Boishakh, the home is thoroughly scrubbed and cleaned; people bathe early in the morning and dress in fine clothes. They spend much of the day visiting relatives, friends, and neighbours and going to the fair. Fairs are arranged in many parts of the country where various agricultural products, traditional handicrafts, toys, cosmetics, as well as various kinds of food and sweets are sold. The fairs also provide entertainment, with singers, dancers and traditional plays and songs. Horse races, bull races, bullfights, cockfights, flying pigeons, and boat racing were once popular.

Sports
 
Cricket is the most popular sport in Bangladesh, followed by football. Kabaddi is the national sport in Bangladesh. Cricket is a game which has a massive and passionate following in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has joined the elite group of countries eligible to play Test Cricket since 2000. The Bangladesh national cricket team goes by the nickname of the Tigers – after the Royal Bengal Tiger. The people of Bangladesh enjoy watching live sports. Whenever there is a cricket or football match between popular local teams or international teams in any local stadium significant number of spectators gather to watch the match live. The people also celebrate major victories of the national teams with great enthusiasm for the live game. Victory processions are the most common element in such celebrations. A former prime minister even made an appearance after an International one day cricket match in which Bangladesh beat Australia, she came to congratulate the victory. Also in late 2006 and 2007, football legend Zinedine Zidane paid a visit to local teams and various events thanks to the invite of Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Muhammad Yunus.

Lifestyle
 
Panta Ilish – a traditional platter of Panta bhat, with fried ilish slice, supplemented with dried fish, pickles, dal, chillies, and onion – is a popular dish during the Pohela Boishakh festival.
   Bangladesh is famous for its distinctive culinary tradition, delicious food, snacks, and savories. Steamed rice constitutes the staple food, and is served with a variety of vegetables, fried as well with curry, thick lentil soups, fish and meat preparations of mutton, beef, and chicken, and very rarely pork only by certain ethnic minority groups. Bengali cuisine is rich and varied with the use of many specialized spices and flavors. Fish is the dominant source of protein, cultivated in ponds and fished with nets in the fresh-water rivers of the Ganges delta. More than 40 types of mostly freshwater fish are common, including carp, varieties like rui (rohu), katla, magur (catfish), chingŗi (prawn or shrimp), as well as shuţki (dried sea fish) are popular. Salt water fish (not sea fish though) and Ilish are very popular among Bengalis, can be called an icon of Bengali cuisine.
Unlike neighbouring West Bengal, serving dishes with beef is not a taboo in Bangladesh. Beef curry is very common and an essential part of Bengal cuisine.

Dress
 
Bangladeshi people have unique dress preferences. Bangladeshi men sometimes wear kurta or fatua on religious and cultural occasions. Bangladeshi men wear lungi as casual wear (in rural areas) and shirt-pant or suits on formal occasions. The lungi is not considered proper to be worn outside the house except by the farmers and the low-income families. Shalwar Kameez and Sharee are the main dresses of Bangladeshi women. The women also have a different preference to which types of Shalwar Kameez and Sharee they would like to wear. Whether it may be silk sharees, georgette sharees, or designer sharees, each particular fabric contributes to representing the culture overall. Weaving the fabric for these dresses is a traditional art in Bangladesh.

 

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