Conflict prevention

Boi-Sa-Bi: A Festival of Spirit and Harmony

16 Apr 2015

Villagers float flowers as part of Phul Bizu Boi-Sa-Bi celebrationsVillagers float flowers as part of Phul Bizu Boi-Sa-Bi celebrations. Photo by - Prasenjit Chakma
When I mention the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), the first thing your mind might turn to are the steep hills, thick jungle and wide rivers that characterise this south eastern corner of Bangladesh. The second is probably the region’s rich ethnic diversity.  CHT is home to eleven different indigenous/tribal groups, in addition to the Bengali community. Each group maintains a unique language, culture, dress and even farming method, differing markedly from the rest of Bangladesh’s population. Within the Hill Tracts many communities follow alternate faiths to Islam, with many indigenous/tribal groups identifying as Buddhist, Hindu and Christian. Further the CHT traditional governance system, based on customary laws and lead by three Rajas, operates side-by-side to local government structures. Indeed, the CHT region is a mosaic of diversity and as a proud Chakma woman I view this as a strength to be celebrated. One joyous display of this diversity is the recently concluded Boi-Sa-Bi festival - the largest and most significant indigenous/tribal cultural event on the CHT calendar. For three days, the region becomes an explosion of colour and celebration, commencing on the 12 April and culminating on Pahela Baishakh. It is an opportunity to mark the year past, and to welcome … Read more

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