Dhaka - Culture

Culture

See also: Culture of Bangladesh

As Dhaka is the most populous city of Bangladesh, it has a vibrant cultural life. Annual events and celebrations of Independence Day (26 March), Language Martyrs' Day (21 February), Victory Day (16 December), Bengali New Year (14 April), Ekushey Book Fair (month of February), Hindu festivals including the Durga Puja and the Krishna Janmashtami, and the Muslim festivals of Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha feature prominently in the city's cultural observances, events, and celebrations. Dhaka's people congregate at the Shaheed Minar and the Jatiyo Smriti Soudho to remember the national heroes of the Bengali Language Movement and the Bangladesh Liberation War. These occasions are observed with public ceremonies and rallies in public grounds. Many schools and colleges organise fairs, festivals and concerts in which citizens from all levels of society participate.

Pohela Baishakh, the Bengali New Year, falls annually on April 14 and is popularly celebrated across the city. Large crowds of people gather on the streets of Shahbag, Ramna Park and the campus of the University of Dhaka for celebrations. The most popular dressing style for women are sarees or salwar kameez, while men usually prefer western clothing to the traditional lungi. The Muslim festivals of Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha witness widespread celebrations across the whole city. For much of recent history, Dhaka was characterised by roadside markets and small shops that sold a wide variety of goods. Recent years have seen the widespread construction of shopping malls, multiplexes, hotels and restaurants attracting Dhaka's growing middle class and wealthy residents. Along with Bangladeshi cuisine and South Asian variants, a large variety of Western and Chinese cuisine is served at numerous restaurants and eateries. Though restaurants offering multinational cuisine and fastfood chains like KFC, Pizza Hut, Nando's, Baskin-Robbins, A&W and Chili's have opened up in the city, unique Dhakaiya delicacies like Glassey, Hajir Biriyani (Haji's Biriyani), Nanna Biriyani, Laban, Borhani etc. are still very popular amongst Dhakaiyas. These delicacies are even offered to state guests. Dhakaiya Bakarkhani is the traditional food/snack of the people of Old Dhaka. It is famous for its quality and taste and it was highly praised by the royal court of the Mughal Empire in Delhi.

Despite the growing popularity of music groups and rock bands, traditional folk music remains widely popular. The works of the national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam and national anthem writer Rabindranath Tagore have a widespread following across Dhaka. The Baily Road area is known as Natak Para (Theatre Neighbourhood) which is the centre of Dhaka's thriving theatre movement. Indian and Western music and films are popular with large segments of Dhaka's population. This area is also credited for the revival of the Jamdani due to the many local saree stores selling and promoting these locally hand-made age old traditional Bengali sarees. Jamdanis are 100% hand weaved and originate from the Persian and Mughal era. Jamdanis are produced by a traditional high quality cottage industry, which is slowly dying out due to the slow production process. A single medium range Jamdani saree may take as long as 3 months to complete.

Bangladesh Betar is the state-run primary provider of radio services, and broadcasts a variety of programming in Bengali and English. In recent years many private radio networks, especially FM radio services, have been established in the city such as Radio Foorti FM 88.0, Radio Today FM 89.6, Radio Amar FM 88.4 and ABC Radio FM 89.2. Bangladesh Television is the state-run broadcasting network that provides a wide variety of programmes in Bengali and English. Cable and satellite networks such as Ekushey Television, Channel I, ATN Bangla, Desh TV, RTV, NTV, Banglavision, Channel 9 and Independent TV are amongst the most popular channels. The main offices of most publishing houses in Bangladesh are based in Dhaka. The Prothom Alo and The Daily Ittefaq are the most popular amongst the large number of Bengali language dailies, periodicals and other publications in the city. The Daily Star and The Independent are the major English dailies published. The telephone concentration in Bangladesh is estimated at around 50% and this is much higher in Dhaka.

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