Bangladesh is a land of festivity. Muslims celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Azha, Eid-e-Miladunnabi, Muharram etc. Hindus observe Durga Puja, Kali Puja, and Sarashwati Puja among others. Buddha Purnima is the biggest festival for Bangali Buddhists, and Borodin (Christmas) is celebrated by the Christians. People from several tribal communities also have their respective festival as well.
Apart from these religious and tribal celebrations we also have several secular festivals. Pohela Boishakh (Bangla New Year) is the biggest among all the festivals in Bangladesh. This day People get into their best attires, go out with friends or family, business men open their new book of records and send sweets & fruits to their regular clients, cultural organizations organize cultural programmes, students bring morning processions called Probhat Ferry. Nobanno (New Rice) is another of our festivals, which is strongly based in the rural Bangladesh. When the farmers get new rice, they observe this day with Rice flour and sugar mixed in water and Puffed rice.
We also observe 21st February as Shahid Dibash (as observed worldwide as International Mother Language Day), 26th March as Independence Day, and 16th December as Victory Day.
Rice is our staple food. In general we eat steam boiled rice with vegetables and fish or meat. We cook Polau rice, Biriani or fried rice in celebrating special occasions. Puffed and popped rice are common especially in villages, where a guest is entertained with puffed rice and a piece of Gurh (a replacement of sugar made by boiling date palm sap).
Women usually wear Sari, but younger ladies wear Salwar Kamij. Jewelry of gold and silver is very popular among ladies of all ages. Ladies keep long hair. A special twisted bun, called Beni, is popular a hair style among young girls, while ladies prefer Khopa (kind of tying the hair mass at the back of head) in general. Males casually wear Lungi or Pajamas with or without under shirt, Panjabi or Fatua. In formal occasions or in offices men wear western shirt and pants. In general, people love to wear colourful dresses.
People in Bangladesh are still family oriented. We either live together as an extended family or frequently visit our parents and relatives in vacations and weekends. Respecting elders is a norm here. In every major occasion of our lives we have our parents and relatives playing a major role. Arranged marriage is still a common sight, even when people chose their partner they proceed through their respective families to arrange the wedding.
Traditional music in Bangladesh shares the perspectives of that of the Indian sub-continent. Music in Bangladesh can be divided into three distinct categories -classical, folk and modern. Ustad Alauddin Khan and Ustad Ayet Ali Khan are two names in classical instrumental music who are internationally recognized.
The store of folk song abounds in spiritual lyrics of Lalan Shah, Hasan Raja, Romesh Shill and many anonymous lyricists. Bangla music arena is enriched with Jari, Shari, Bhatiali, Murshidi and other types of folk songs. Rabindra Sangeet and Nazrul Sangeet are our precious heritage. Modern music is also practiced widely. Contemporary patterns have more inclinations to west. Pop song and band groups are also coming up mainly in big cities.
Bangladesh has a good number of musical instruments of her own. Original musical instruments include Banshi (bamboo flute), Dhole (wooden drums), Ektara (a single stringed instrument), Dotara (a two stringed instrument), Mandira (a pair of metal bawls used as rhythm instrument), Khanjani, Sharinda etc. Now-a-days western instruments such as Guitar, Drums, Saxophone, and Synthesizer etc. are being used alongside country instruments.
Bangladesh has a rich tradition of modern painting which was pioneered by Zainul Abedin, Kamrul Hassan, Anwarul Haque, Shafiuddin Ahmed and S.M. Sultan. Zainul Abedin earned international fame for his sketches on famine of 1943 in Bangladesh. Other famous artists of Bangladesh are Abdur Razzak, Qayum Chowdhury, Murtaza Bashir, Aminul Islam, Debdas Chakraborti, Kazi Abdul Baset, Syed Jahangir, and Mohammad Kibria.
Classical forms of the sub-continent predominate in Bangladeshi dance. The folk, tribal and Middle Eastern traits are also common. Among the tribal dances, particularly popular are Monipuri and Santal. Rural girls are in the habit of dancing that does not require any grammar or regulations. Bangla songs like jari and shari are presented accompanied with dance of both male and female performers.
Jatra (Folk Drama) is another vital chapter of Bangalee culture. It depicts mythological episodes of love and tragedy. Legendary plays of heroism are also popular, particularly in the rural areas. In near past jatra was the biggest entertainment means for the rural Bangalees. Gradually western culture is occupying the place of traditional culture like jatra.