Bijhu Festival of Chakma Celebrating(বিঝু উৎসব)

(When will this country be calm,

When will they return

And, When they barely meet together in Bijhu)

This is basically a Chakma song. During the mutiny of the peace forces against the government in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, many people from the hill areas migrated to India as refugees. So, the relatives who are staying in their homeland are asking for their return so that they can eat Biju together. The significance of Biju in hill station life can realize in the meaning of these two line of this songs. In fact, no precise historical information is available as to exactly when the Biju festival began. However, the Chakma tribes have been celebrating the Biju festival since time immemorial. One of the ancient Ballad literary material of the Chakmas, “Radhaman Dhanpudi Pala”, mentions the celebration of Biju.

(Ching ching ching picking up the bird tune

A day at the end of the year

Give it to Biju today.)

Biju is intertwined with the Chakma’s literature, culture and folk songs. Because, Biju festival is celebrated through singing or dancing. However, among the tribes, Tripura, Marma, Thanchanga and other ethnic groups also celebrate this Biju festival under different names. Such as: Baisuk, Sangrai, Bishu etc. This festival is celebrated for three days in three different name of Bijhu. Chaitra is the last month of the Bengali year. In Chakma socitey,  the last two days of this Chaitra month and the first day of Bangla new year is the three days for celebrating the festival of Bijhu.

Phul Bijhu of Bijhu Festival of Chakma

The first day of the festival call Phul Bijhu. On this day, children and teenagers of their respective areas around their house and yard decorates with different kinds of flowers. The house clean in the morning by adult. In the morning, all together, by gathering to mountain rhyme Or on the banks of a river for the purpose of worship. Basically the source of water and an integral part of nature, they are floating flowers and light the candle to the rhyme or river for specially celebrating that day. In addition, near the mountain rhyme or river they specially pray for fulfilling owns desire. If there is a current in the rhyme or river, leaves or stones or wild flowers of worship has floated away. Because of that, In recent times it call the ‘Floral Festival‘ of floating.

Bihju, A Festival of Tribe Chakma( বিঝু, চাকমা উপজাতির একটি উৎসব)

There is no such thing as a ‘Flower floating festival’. Generally on the banana leaves and a type of shrub call Bhurpada, the wildflowers like ‘Bhatjhara flower’, ‘Turing flower’, ‘Rebek flower’, ‘Kuruk flower , Ma Lakshmi Ma flower’ etc. are organized for worship. This day is called Phulbijhu. At the end of the worship and prayers, many people take a bath in the water of the Sora or river. At this time they are drinking transparent and clear water. It call ‘Bijhugulo’.

On the day of Phulbiju, teenagers and youngsters gather in groups to collect water from rhymes or river in jugs and go to Buddhist temples or pagodas for washing the statue of the compassionate Buddha and saves virtue. At the same time, they bath their elders of the village and greeted them for earning from them to wish a happy life. Then, as part of the festival, they hold the traditional ‘Uvo gid’ and ‘Gangkhuli Gid’ somewhere. Besides, there are various traditional sports competitions of Chakmas. Such as: ‘Ghilekhara’, ‘Nadengkhara’, ‘Gudukhara’, ‘Balikhara’ etc.

Original Bijhu of Bijhu Festival

On the last day of the month of Chaitra, Main BIjhu celebrate. On this day, as the main festival, there is boundless joy in all places. Everyone in the society, big or small, all overjoy. During the day, various cakes, drinks and other food item arrange in the house. With various vegetables collected from the forest-hills, a special curry call ‘Pajan’ cook. For Eating this Pajan, it believe that, any disease cannot attack easier in a human body. In addition, different types of cakes serve in each house. For example: ‘Bara Pide’ and ‘Binihoga’ make with Binni Rice. ‘Kalapide’ make with banana leaves. Again, ‘Sannyepide’ make with rice powder, palm juice and molasses. In addition, the elderly or guests entertain with special drinks such as ‘Dochuani’, ‘Kanji’ and ‘Jagra’.

The last day of Bijhu festival

The next day, the first day of the Bengali New Year, will call ‘Go-jye-po-jye Din‘ will celebrate. On this day many people rest at home. It is planning to overcome all the misfortunes of the old days and arrange everything in the new year. Religious ceremonies organize in Buddhist monasteries. Prayers offere for the welfare of all. Wealthy people organize a worship call Aharadi for Buddha at their own house.

On the other side, like the traditional practice, many men organize a worship with hot rice and boiled egg to their Godess Laxmi, purpose of good and prosperity of the house where to keep paddy or rice in a jar or pot or a bareng which make with bamboo. In the afternoon, candles light arround the house and domestic animal keep in the house as if in the new year everything  always bright. Thus the Chakmas are rightly one of their social festivals observes. Sometimes the scope of the festival unofficially extends to the week.

Bijhu Festival of Chakma Photo




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