Monday, December 11, 2017

Christmas in Bangladesh -- Christmas in Different Lands

Today we are participating in the Multicultural Kid Blogs' Christmas in Different Lands and I decided to stretch our regions and check out what Christmas is like in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is a country in South Asia. It is the third largest Muslim-majority country in the world which is why I was fascinated to see how they celebrate Christmas. 

The government in Bangladesh is a parliamentary with a Prime Minister and a President as Head of State, but it has become more of ceremonial role. More than 85% of the population is Muslim. However Christianity was brought to the region by Portuguese traders and missionaries in the sixteenth century. Only about 0.3% of the population is Christian today yet Christmas is national holiday. I will admit it was a bit hard to find photographs to share since it is such a small portion of the population.  It is called Bara Din which means Big Day, and Merry Christmas in Bengali is shubho or shuvo borodin.
Dhaka 15th Dec (31300513160)
Dhaka December 15, 2016 By ASaber91 (Dhaka 15th Dec)
 [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons


The big towns and cities have Western Christmas decorations and having a Christmas tree is becoming more popular among Christians. A popular decoration for different festive occasions in Bangladesh are Nishan which are strings made of hundreds of small pink paper triangles. They also decorate their houses with artificial stars on their rooftops to represent the star of Bethlehem. They also cut banana trees and put them in pairs along the path to form an arch.
Dhaka High Court, night view
High Court of Bangladesh Night View on December 16, 2011 By Abu Nayeem (Own work)
 [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Christians who live in big towns and cities usually try to make it home to their villages to be with their families. Most families spend Christmas Eve together and open gifts. On Christmas morning children can peak at their stockings before heading to church.


Catholic Christians go to Midnight Mass. Christmas morning church services are also popular.  Traditionally men sit on one side of the church and the women on the other. The churches are illuminated by lights and the there is a festive spirit of love, joy and sharing. Some churches hold celebrations that last several days.

Patharghatta Catholic Church Chittagong
Patharghatta Catholic Church By Bazaan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Food & Treats:

On Christmas Day there are often traditional sweets and pithas (traditional Bengali cake) offered. Breakfast consists of foods like cakes, pitha, semal or sandwiches. Lunch and dinner consist of different vegetables, mutton, chicken, pork or beef with fruits, soft drinks and ice creams.
Bengali Pitha
Bengali Pitha By Monojit2522 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

If you would like to make your own pitha I found this tutorial on YouTube. It is in Bengali but the words are typed in English. We haven't had time to try it yet. Let me know if you do. I would love to hear how it turns out!

Sources: Bara Din – Christmas in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation. Bengali Christmas. (14 December 2014)
Celebrating Christmas Editors. Christmas in Bangladesh.
Why Christmas Editors. Christmas in Bangladesh.
Wikipedia Editors. Bangladesh. 

Christmas in Different Lands 2015 | Multicultural Kid Blogs 
 Welcome to our fifth annual Christmas in Different Lands series! This year each participating blogger will focus on a different country, sharing a traditional dish and more about Christmas in that country. For even more glimpses of global Christmas celebrations, see our series from previous years (2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016) plus follow our Christmas board on Pinterest! Follow Multicultural Kid Blogs's board Christmas Around the World on Pinterest.
Celebrate Christmas Around the World Printable Pack from Multicultural Kid Blogs
Don't miss our other posts about Christmas in different lands, plus our printable pack Celebrate Christmas Around the World, on sale now!