A festive mood is prevalent in the CHT districts as the indigenous people there are preparing to celebrate their biggest social festival “Baisabi”.
Although the main festivities will begin on April 14, people belonging to the Chakma, Marma and Tripura communities in Rangamati, Bandarban and Khagrachari are now on a shopping spree. They are preparing to serve guests and are arranging special sporting events ahead of the festival.
Besides, many social organisations, including clubs and associations in every indigenous village have also taken massive preparations for celebrating the festival.
The acronym “Baisabi” stands for Baisu-Sangrai-Biju. These are three different names of the same festival given by three separate indigenous communities. The Tripuras call it Baisu while it is known as Sangrai and Biju among the Marmas and the Chakmas respectively. The main festival will coincide with Pahela Baishakh, a key festival celebrated by the Bangladeshis on occasion of the beginning of a new Bangla year.
Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, Khagrachari District Police Super Sheikh Md Mizanur Rahman said like previous years, they had heightened security measures so that the indigenous people could celebrate the festival joyfully.
During Sangrai, the Marma people, apart from other activities, engage themselves in Jolkeli, a traditional event where males and females sprinkle each other with water. They also arrange boat race, better known as naukabaich, wrestling and many other events.
The Chakmas have a reputation for involving themselves in fun and that is also reflected in their activities during Biju. They prepare different palatable foods and light candles in the names of gods and goddesses. They also observe religious rituals and pray for peace, happiness and prosperity.
As for Baisu, it is more of a social festival to the people of the Tripura community. They decorate their houses with flowers, put on new clothes, and free domestic animals like cows, goats and buffaloes in the early hours of the day. They serve guests with homemade cakes and liquor.