Apr 12, 2012

Chittagong Hill Tracts: Celebrate Three-Day Festival

The biggest social festival in the calendar of the Chittagong Hill Tracts people got underway on 12 April 2012, with communities gathering to partake in a variety of traditional customs and events to mark the occasion.

Below is an article published by the Daily Star:

The three-day 'Boisabi Utsab', the biggest social festival of indigenous people of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) begins today [12 April 2012] with various programmes in three hill districts.

The ethnic communities in Rangamati, Bandarban and Khagrachhari districts celebrate the festival 'to leave behind the sorrows of last year and welcome the Bangla new year' with the hope for a brighter future.

The festival is widely called Boisabi though the ethnic people have regional names of it. The Tripuras, the Marmas and the Chakmas call it Boisuk, Sagnrain and Biju respectively while the first two or three letters of each form the word 'Boisabi' collectively.

The last two days of Bangla month Chaitra is called 'Ful Biju' and 'Mul Biju' respectively and the first day of Baishakh is known as 'Gojya Pojya Din'.

The indigenous people of CHT float flowers on river or fountain water on 'Ful Biju' day. Today [12 April 2012] Biju Udjapan Committee and Tripura Kalyan Foundation will organise the 'floating flower' programmes from 6am at Banabihar Ghat of Kaptai Lake and Garjantali in Rangamati.

As a mark of respect to the elders, another programme including giving bath and new clothes to them will be held today [12 April 2012] at Garjantali at 8am in Rangamati. A cultural programme, performed by local Tripura artistes, will also take place at 5pm at Garjantali. In Khagrachhari, a colourful rally will be brought out in the town by Zila Parishad.

On April 13 [2012], during the main function of Mul Biju festival, the indigenous people will prepare 'pachan', a kind of mixed vegetable curry in every house to treat the guests. They will also make their own traditional pithas (cakes), sweetmeats and liquor to celebrate the day.

On the occasion, Utsab Udjapan Committee in Bandarban has organised a three-day long programme at Bandarban town which will begin at 9am on April 13 with the performing of 'Shoyeng Daan' (delivering food) in the Kheuya Kiong (local temple). At 12 noon, a religious procession will parade the town with the statue of Lord Buddha and after that the statue will be taken to Shankho River to arrange bath of the statue.

On April 14 [2012], a cultural programme featuring Pani Barshan or showering each other with water will be organised by Marma Shilpi Gosthi at Puraton Razar Math at 4pm in the town.

At the function, young women and men sprinkled water on each other to symbolise cleansing of weariness of the past year.

A game named Tailakta Bangshee Utha (climbing oiled bamboo) will be performed on Saturday and Sunday. Besides, traditional sports like tachhi khela and boli khela (a form of wrestling) will be held at 3pm at the same place on April 15 [2012].

Pitha Utsab (preparing traditional cakes) will take place at night at Maddhampara and Ujanipara in the town for three days.

On the day of "Gojjya Pojjya Din" or the first day of Bangla New Year, the indigenous people go to Kiong (temple) to offer cakes and hear Dharma Deshana (religious preaching) and pray for the well being of their family. They also host their neighbours at their respective houses on the day.