The Culture of Bangladesh refers to the way of life of the people of Bangladesh. It has evolved over the centuries and encompasses the cultural diversity of several social groups of Bangladesh. The Bengal Renaissance of the 19th and early 20th centuries, noted Bengali writers, saints, authors, scientists, researchers, thinkers, music composers, painters, and film-makers have played a significant role in the development of Bengali culture. The Bengal Renaissance contained the seeds of a nascent political Indian nationalism and was the precursor in many ways to modern Indian artistic and cultural expression. The culture of Bangladesh is composite and over the centuries has assimilated influences of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity. It is manifested in various forms, including music, dance, and drama; art and craft; folklore and folktale; languages and literature; philosophy and religion; festivals and celebrations; as well as in a distinct cuisine and culinary tradition.
Music, dance, drama
The music and dance styles of Bangladesh may be divided into three categories: classical, folk, and modern.
The classical style has been influenced by other prevalent classical forms of music and dances of the Indian subcontinent and, accordingly, show some influenced dance forms like Bharata Natyam and Kuchipudi.
Media and cinema
The Bangladeshi press is diverse, outspoken and privately owned. Over 200 newspapers are published in the country. Bangladesh Betar is the state-run radio service. The British Broadcasting Corporation operates the popular BBC Bangla news and current affairs service. Bengali broadcasts from Voice of America are also very popular. Bangladesh Television (BTV) is the state-owned television network. There more than 20 privately owned television networks, including several news channels. Freedom of the media remains a major concern, due to government attempts at censorship and harassment of journalists.
Festivals and celebrations
Festivals and celebrations are an integral part of the culture of Bangladesh. Prominent and widely celebrated festivals are Pohela Boishakh, Independence Day, Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Adha, Milad un Nabi, Muharram, Chand raat, Shab-e-Baraat, Bishwa Ijtema, Durga Puja, Dhamrai Rathayatra, Janmashtami, Buddha Purnima, Christmas and Language Movement Day, Rabindra Jayanti, Nazrul Jayanti and other national days.
Architecture and heritage
Bangladesh has appealing architecture from historic treasures to contemporary landmarks. It has evolved over centuries and assimilated influences from social, religious and exotic communities. Bangladesh has many architectural relics and monuments dating back thousands of years.
Cricket is the most popular sport in Bangladesh, followed by football. Kabaddi is the national sport in Bangladesh. Cricket is a game which has a massive and passionate following in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has joined the elite group of countries eligible to play Test cricket since 2000. The Bangladesh national cricket team goes by the nickname of the Tigers – after the royal Bengal tiger. The people of Bangladesh enjoy watching live sports. Whenever there is a cricket or football match between popular local teams or international teams in any local stadium significant number of spectators gather to watch the match live. The people also celebrate major victories of the national teams with great enthusiasm for the live game. Victory processions are the most common element in such celebrations. A former prime minister even made an appearance after an International one day cricket match in which Bangladesh beat Australia, she came to congratulate the victory. Also in late 2006 and 2007, football legend Zinedine Zidane paid a visit to local teams and various events thanks to the invite of Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Muhammad Yunus. Some traditional sports of Bangladesh include Nouka Baich, Kho Kho, Boli Khela, Lathi Khela etc.
Bangladesh is ethnically homogeneous, with Bengalis comprising 98% of the population. The vast majority of Bangladeshis (about 89%) are Muslims, while there are also many Hindus, Christians and Buddhists living in the country. But due to immense cultural diversity, multiple dialects, hybridization of social traits and norms as well as cultural upbringing, Bangladeshis cannot be stereotyped very easily, except for the only fact that they are very resilient in nature. People of different religions perform their religious rituals with festivity in Bangladesh. The Government has declared National Holidays on all important religious festivals of the four major religions. Durga Puja, Christmas, and Buddho Purnima are celebrated with enthusiasm in Bangladesh. All of these form an integral part of the cultural heritage of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is famous for its distinctive culinary tradition, delicious food, snacks, and savories. Steamed rice constitutes the staple food, and is served with a variety of vegetables, fried as well with curry, thick lentil soups, fish and meat preparations of mutton, beef, duck and chicken only by certain ethnic minority groups. Sweetmeats of Bangladesh are mostly milk based, and consist of several delights including roshgulla, shondesh, roshomalai, gulap jam, kalo jam, and chom-chom. Several other sweet preparations are also available. Bengali cuisine is rich and varied with the use of many specialized spices and flavours. Fish is the dominant source of protein, cultivated in ponds and fished with nets in the fresh-water rivers of the Ganges delta. More than 40 types of mostly freshwater fish are common, including carp, varieties like rui (rohu), katla, magur (catfish), chingŗi (prawn or shrimp), as well as shuţki (dried sea fish) are popular. Salt water fish (not sea fish though) and Ilish are very popular among Bengalis, can be called an icon of Bengali cuisine.