'Sales have increased greatly due to an influx of Eid customers. The mood in the tant weavers’ camp is busy, but festive'
The fast approaching Eid-ul-Fitr is seeing a high demand of tant (handloom) saris, popular among women all over Bangladesh, and weavers have been working relentlessly since Shab-e-Barat to meet this heightened demand.
Crafty designs have been woven into the exotic, colourful fabric to impress buyers, who are lining up en masse to purchase a piece of this traditional wear before the festival.
Despite work tirelessly, spending sleepless nights, tant weavers are happy to be doing so much business.
The primary hub of tant is about 6km from Tangail city, in an area called Chandi under Delduar upazila. The place becomes alive with the sound of looms working from dawn to dusk and beyond. Every step of production – from the dyeing of the thread to the sale of the sari – is done right here.
Saris have been popular in the subcontinent for millennia, and Tangail’s weavers create a wide variety of them. Rangbahari, Silk, Half Silk, Kitkot, and Cotton Silk are just a few of the types in their repertoire.
Even though the number of tant looms has reduced in recent years, almost 4,000 are still being used in this area where creative weavers are merging tradition with modern fashion to produce incredible, eye-catching designs.
In the wake of Eid knocking at the door, a plethora of new designs have been created to entice discerning buyers. On visiting Tangail’s Korotia Haat, the largest tant marketplace in the country, it was seen that tant weavers are actively competing to sell their wares.
With the majority of locals and people from other parts of the country demanding Eid saris, weavers have created merchandise to cater to all levels of buyers. Products range from an affordable Tk300-400 to a hefty Tk10,000 or more, and there is no shortage of customers, with some saris even being exported.
Sari seller Mir Zakir Hossain said: “Sales have increased greatly due to an influx of Eid customers. The mood in the tant weavers’ camp is busy, but festive.”
“Designers have a very busy period from the start of the Eid season when they are constantly devising new patterns, but as the festival draws nearer, the work load decreases,” said sari designer Abul Hossain.
Sari trader Khokon Boshak explained: “Tangail saris have different designs and patterns for different festivals. About 40% of the designs this Eid are new specifically created for the festive season. However, the intrusion of Indian saris into the market has somewhat dampened the demand. Nevertheless, the tant industry here should see business of more than Tk500 crore this season.