National culture is the value system and pride associated with a nation. Many people deny their national culture when they move to a new location, and embrace the national culture of their new home. Characteristics of culture
As one might expect, all cultures must share several characteristics if ‘’culture’’ is to be differentiated from other forms of behavior. These similarities between all cultures are surprisingly few. The ultimate goal of cultural anthropology is to determine which characteristics all cultures share in common. Society
Firstly, all culture must take place through a medium of a group of people, known as a society. Even extinct or imagined cultures have societies to transmit the culture. As culture cannot exist without culture. Other animals, such as bees or ants, congregate into societies, yet these animals do not exhibit it culture. Yet no human society is without culture. The functionalist school of anthropological thought attempts to explain why culture is so vital to human societies. Culture of Bangladesh
The culture of Bangladesh has a unique history, dating back more than 2500 years ago.The land, the rivers and the lives of the common people formed a rich heritage with marked differences from neighboring region. The culture of Bangladesh is composite, and over centuries has assimilated influences of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Islam. It is manifested in various forms, including music, dance and drama, art and craft; folklores and folktales; languages and literature, philosophy and religion.
Music, dance and drama
Music and dance style of Bangladesh may be divided into three categories, namely, the classical, folk and the modern. The classical style has been influenced by other prevalent classical forms of music and dance of the Indian subcontinent and accordingly shows some influences dance forms like bharata natyam and kuchipudi.The folk and tribal music and dance of Bangladesh are of indigenous origin and rooted to the soil of Bangladesh. Several dancing style in the north-eastern part of the Indian subcontinent, like Manipuri and santal dances, are also practiced in Bangladesh, but Bangladesh has developed its own distinct dancing style. Bangladesh has a rich tradition folk songs, with lyrics rooted into vibrant tradition and spirituality, mysticism and devotion. Such folk songs also revole round several and other themes, including love themes. Drama remains popular in Bangladesh, including performances of playes bye local playwrights as well as adaptations from writers of western origin. Jatra, that is folk drama is also a part of culture of Bangladesh . Pohela Boishakh
Pohela Baishakh celebration in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Pôhela Boishakh is the first day of the Bengali calendar. It is usually celebrated on the 14th of April. Pohela Boishakh marks the start day of the crop season. 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 racingwere once popular. All gatherings and fairs consist a wide spread of Bengali food and sweets. The most colourful New Year’s Day festival takes place in Dhaka. Large numbers of people gather early in the morning under the banyan tree at Ramna Park where Chhayanat artists open the day with Rabindranath Tagore’s famous song, Esho, he Boishakh, Esho esho (Come, year, come, come).
A similar ceremony welcoming the new year is also held at the Institute of Fine Arts (Dhaka) and University of Dhaka. Students and teachers of the institute take out a colourful procession and parade to round the campus. Social and cultural organisations celebrate the day with cultural programmes. Newspapers bring out special supplements. There are also special programmes on radio and television. Prior to this day, special discounts on clothes, furniture, electronics and various deals and shopping discounts are available. Special line of sarees, usually cotton, white sarees with red print and embroidery is sold before this day as everyone dresses up for this day. Jasmine flowers are also a huge sale for this event which adorns the women’s hair. Background
In 1952, the emerging middle classes of East Bengal underwent an uprising known later as the Bangla Language Movement. Bangladeshis (then East Pakistanis) were initially agitated by a decision by the Central Pakistan Government to establish Urdu, a minority language spoken only by the supposed elite class of West Pakistan, as the sole national language for all of Pakistan. The situation was worsened by an open declaration that “Urdu and only Urdu will be the national language of Pakistan” by the governor, Khawaja Nazimuddin. Protest Police declared Section 144 which banned any sort of meeting. Defying this, the students of University of Dhaka and Dhaka Medical College and other political activists started a procession on February 21, 1952. Near the current Dhaka Medical College Hospital, police fired on the protesters and numerous people, including Abdus Salam, Rafiq Uddin Ahmed, Sofiur Rahman, Abul Barkat and Abdul Jabbar, died.
The movement spread to the whole of East Pakistan and the whole province came to a standstill. Afterwards, the Government of Pakistan relented and gave Bengali equal status as a national language. Effects This movement is thought to have sown the seeds for the independence movement which resulted in the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971. Commemoration To commemorate this movement, Shaheed Minar a solemn and symbolic sculpture, was erected in the place of the massacre. The day is revered in Bangladesh and, to a somewhat lesser extent, in West Bengal as the Martyrs’ Day. This day is the public holiday in Bangladesh.
UNESCO decided to observe 21 February as International Mother Language Day. The UNESCO General Conference took a decision to that took effect on 17 November 1999 when it unanimously adopted a draft resolution submitted by Bangladesh and co-sponsored and supported by 28 other countries. In Assam and North-east India In Silchar, India, eleven people were killed by police firing on 19 May 1961 when protesting legislation that mandated the use of the Assamese language. Bengalis in Assam and north-east India observe 19 May as Language Movement Day to remember the 11 Bengalis who were killed on the day by police fire in Silchar Railway Station. Weddings
A bride for Turmeric ceremony
A traditional wedding is arranged by Ghotoks (matchmakers), who are typically friends or relatives of the couple. The matchmakers facilitate the introduction, and also help agree the amount of any settlement. Bengali weddings are traditionally in five parts: first it is the bride and groom’sMehendi Shondha, the bride’s Gaye Holud, the groom’s Gaye Holud, the Beeya, and the Bou Bhaat. These often take place on separate days. The first event in a wedding is an informal one: the groom presents the bride with a ring marking the “engagement” which is gaining popularity. For themehendi shondha the bride’s side apply henna to each other as well as the bride for the bride’s Gaye Holud, the groom’s family – except the groom himself – go in procession to the bride’s home. Bride’s friends and family apply turmeric paste to her body as a part of Gaye Hoof bride, and they are traditionally all in matching clothes, mostly orange in colour. The bride is seated on a dais, and the henna is used to decorate the bride’s hands and feet with elaborate abstract designs. The sweets are then fed to the bride by all involved, piece by piece.
The actual wedding ceremony “Biye” follows the Gaye Holud ceremonies. The wedding ceremony is arranged by the bride’s family. On the day, the younger members of the bride’s family barricade the entrance to the venue, and demand a sort of admission charge from the groom in return for allowing him to enter. The bride and groom are seated separately, and a Kazi (authorized person by the govt. to perform the wedding), accompanied by the parents and a Wakil (witness) from each side formally asks the bride for her consent to the union, and then the groom for his. The bride’s side of the family tries to play some kind of practical joke on the groom such as stealing the groom’s shoe. The reception, also known as Bou-Bhaat (reception), is a party given by the groom’s family in return for the wedding party. It is typically a much more relaxed affair, with only the second-best wedding outfit being worn.
Relatives decorating the groom with traditional wedding turmeric in a Bangladeshi Gaye Holud ceremony in Dhaka. Architecture and heritage
Bangladesh has appealing architecture from historic treasures to contemporary landmarks.
Jatiyo Smriti Soudho, a tribute to liberation war martyrs is also an architectural landmark
A cricket match between Bangladesh &India at the Sher-e-Bangla Cricket Stadium inDhaka, Bangladesh 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. TheBangladesh 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 Internationalone 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. Religion
Festivals and celebrations are an integral part of the culture of Bangladesh. Prominent and widely celebrated festivals are Pohela Boishakh, Independence day, National Mourning Day, Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Azha, Moharram, Durga puja, and Language Movement Day. Bangladesh is ethnically homogeneous, with Bengalis comprising 98% of the population. The majority of Bangladeshis (about 90%) are Muslim, and a small number of Hindus, Christians and Buddhists are also living in the country. But due to immense cultural diversity, multiple dialects, hybridization of social traits and norms as well as cultural upbringing, Bangladeshis cannot be stereotyped very easily, except for the only fact that they are very resilient in nature. People of different religions perform their religious rituals with festivity in Bangladesh.
The Government has declared National Holidays on all important religious festivals of the four major religions. Durga Puja, Christmas, and Buddha Purnima are celebrated with enthusiasm in Bangladesh. All of these form an integral part of the cultural heritage of Bangladesh. 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 Bengali 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 (Bangali New Year) is the biggest among all the festivals in Bangladesh. We also observe 21 February as Shahid Dibash (as observed worldwide as International Mother Language Day), 26 March as Independence Day, and 16 December as Victory Day. Lifestyle
Panta Ilish – a traditional platter ofPanta bhat, with fried hilsa slice, supplemented with dried fish (shutki),pickles (achar), 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. Boiled 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 small groups. Sweetmeats of Bangladesh are mostly milk based, and consist of several delights including roshgulla, sandesh, rasamalai, gulap jamun, kalo jamun, and chom-chom. Several other sweet preparations are also available. Bengali cuisine is rich and varied with the use of many specialized spices and flavours.
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 (hilsa ilisha) are very popular among Bengalis, can be called an icon of Bengali cuisine. Serving dishes with beef is not a rare occurrence 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. Conclusion
Different culture groups think, feel, and act differently. There are no scientific standards for considering one group as intrinsically superior or inferior to another. Studying differences in culture among groups and societies presuppose a position of cultural relativism. It does not imply normalcy for oneself, or nor for one’s society. It, however, calls for judgment when dealing with groups or societies different from one’s own. Information about the nature of cultural differences between societies, their roots, and their consequences should precede judgment and action. Negotiation is more likely to succeed when the parties concerned understand the reasons for the differences in viewpoints.