Boisabi festival, the three-day annual religious and cultural celebration of the indigenous people in the Chattogram Hill Tracts, began on Monday following necessary health guidelines.
The people of the ethnic communities started the first day of their festival by floating flowers on the water.They also prayed to the Mother Ganga expecting a coronavirus-free world in the New Year.
The preparation for celebrating the festival usually begins much earlier as it has turned into a great occasion for all tribal communities to celebrate their culture.
But this year all formal arrangements of the celebration have been cancelled following the worsening coronavirus situation.
Member secretary of Biju, Baisu, Sangraing, Bishu-2021 Celebration Committee, Intu Moni Talukder, said, “We couldn’t celebrate the festival last year due to sudden spread of coronavirus. That is why this year we took huge preparations for the occasion.”
“But we have cancelled all our events as per the
government order as the coronavirus situation worsened. Yet people are celebrating the day individually following health guidelines,” he added.The decision has been made as the number of Covid-19 cases has been soaring in Bangladesh at an alarming rate for the past few weeks and a strict lockdown has been imposed by the government.
At least one million people of 13 ethnic communities including Chakma, Marma, Tripura, Bom, Kheyang, Lusai, Dak, Murong, Tongchonga, Pangon, Chakh, Lumi and Rakhain live in three hilly districts Rangamati, Khagrachhari and Bandarban.
These tribal groups celebrate Boisabi Festivals in diverse names. For instance, Tripura community calls it ‘Boishuk’, Marma ‘Shangrai’, Chakma ‘Biju’ and Tongchonga tribe terms it ‘Bishu’ festival.
The word Boisabi is a combination of the Bengali acronyms to give a common name of the indigenous festival.
There are two natural lakes, an artificial lake, and four rivers in Chattogram hill tracts which have deep connection with the Boisabi Festival.
On the first day of Boishabi festival, members of ethnic communities go to the rivers and lakes to bath in the morning before collecting flowers.
Then they float these flowers on lake or river water. After completing bath, tribal people go to their respective temple, pagoda or church for praying.
At the end of the prayer they take their lunch there. In the last part of the day, they eat different food items and drink locally produced drink ‘chock’ before singing and dancing with other community members.
They also arrange different sports for the young members of the community.
All the tribes have their own way of celebrating this festival but the only common thing among them is that they refrain themselves from killing any animal during the festival days.