the long history of the region, Bangladesh has a culture
that encompasses elements both old and new. The Bengali
language boasts a rich literary heritage, which Bangladesh
shares with the Indian state of West Bengal. The earliest
literary text in Bengali is the 8th century Charyapada.
Medieval Bengali literature was often either religious
(e.g. Chandidas), or adapted from other languages (e.g.
Alaol). Bengali literature reached its full expression in
the nineteenth century, with its greatest icons being
poets Rabindranath Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam.
Bangladesh also has a long tradition in folk literature,
for example Maimansingha Gitika, Thakurmar Jhuli
and stories related to Gopal Bhar, Birbal
and Molla Nasiruddin.
tradition of Bangladesh is lyrics-based (Baniprodhan),
with minimal instrumental accompaniment. The Baul
tradition is a distinctive element of Bengali folk music.
Numerous other musical traditions exist including
Gombhira, Bhatiali and Bhawaiya, varying from one region
to the next. Folk music is often accompanied by the
ektara, an instrument with only one string. Other
instruments include the dotara, dhol, flute and tabla.
Bangladesh also has an active heritage in North Indian
classical music. Similarly, Bangladeshi dance forms draw
from folk traditions, especially those of the tribal
groups, as well as the broader Indian dance tradition.
produces about 80 films a year. Mainstream Hindi films are
also quite popular. Around 200 daily newspapers are
published in Bangladesh, along with more than 500
periodicals. However, regular readership is low at just
under 15% of the population Bangladeshis listen to a
variety of local and national radio programs like
Bangladesh Betar. Four private FM radio stations named
(Radio Foorti, ABC Radio, Radio Today, Radio Amar) are
popular among urban youths. International Bengali language
broadcasts include BBC Bangla and Voice of America. The
dominant television channel is the state-owned Bangladesh
Television, but in the last few years, privately owned
channels have developed considerably.
culinary tradition of Bangladesh has close relations to
nearby North-East Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine as
well as having its own unique traits. Rice, and fish are
traditional favorites. Bangladeshis make distinctive
sweetmeats from milk products, some common ones being Rôshogolla,
Rasmalai|Rôshomalai, chômchôm and kalojam.
The sari (shaŗi)
is by far the most widely worn dress by Bangladeshi women.
A guild of weavers in Dhaka is renowned for producing
saris from exquisite Jamdani muslin. The salwar kameez (shaloar
kamiz) is also quite popular, and in urban areas some
women wear western attire. Among men, western attire is
more widely adopted. Men also wear the kurta-paejama
combination, often on religious occasions, and the lungi,
a kind of long skirt for men.
and Eid ul-Adha, being the most important holidays in the
Islamic calendar, are the subject of major festivals. The
day before Eid ul-Fitr is called Chãd Rat (the
night of the moon) and is often celebrated with
firecrackers. Eid ul-Adha is celebrated in the memory of
great sacrifice of Prophet Abraham. Major Hindu festivals
are Durga Puja, Kali Puja and Saraswati Puja. Buddha
Purnima, which marks the birth of Gautama Buddha, and
Christmas, called Bôŗodin (Great day), are
both national holidays. The most important secular
festival is Pohela Baishakh or Bengali New Year, the
beginning of the Bengali calendar. Other festivities
include Nobanno, Poush parbon (festival of Poush)
and observance of national days like Shohid Dibosh and