Bangladesh Culture

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· Muslim: 89%
· Buddhist: 10%
· Christianity: 0.3%
· Baha’I Faith: ?

(Background note, 2010)


· There are no legal restrictions for marriages between different religions, but it is ultimately up to the families.
· Saraswati is one of their deities who takes the form of a swan. She is the patron of learning, and propitiating.
· The goddess Durga has ten arms and is a warrior goddess.
· Muslims believe that after death your soul is judged and sent to either heaven or hell. Funerals require that the body is washed and the nostrils and ears are plugged with cotton or fabric, and the body be wrapped in a white cloth.
· Hindus believe in reincarnation (you are reborn as something or someone else). Close family morns the dead by shaving their heads.

(Culture of bangladesh., 2011)


· Eid ul-Fitr: The most important religious festival for the Muslims of Bangladesh. People gather all over the country to pray, the largest Eid prayer is held at the national Eidgah. During the three day celebration, gentlemen embrace each other. It is also part of the custom that young members of the society to touch the feet of the seniors, and seniors returning blessings (sometimes with a little bit of money as a gift). Henna is also painted on the bodies of women mainly on hands and feet.
(Culture of bangladesh., 2011)

Women's hands painted with henna

Societal Expectations:


· Women: are in charge of the households, the cleaning, cooking etch. Women are also not encouraged to go outside of the neighborhood unaccompanied. Women are not allowed inside the Muslim Masques, and practice their religion mainly in the home. Although there have been two female Prime ministers since 1991, women primarily are not involved in politics. If a woman is not married or her husband has died, she is then under her father or brother, or son’s care.
(Culture of bangladesh., 2011)

· Men: are expected to be the head of their households, work, and bring in money for the family. Men do the majority of the shopping, because it involves socializing outside of the home and neighborhood.

(Culture of bangladesh, 2011)


· Marriage is usually arranged by the parents and mostly by the fathers. The father goes to other family members or an agency to find a suitable husband for his daughter.
· Arranged marriages are usually influenced by social status, and a families reputation.
· Fathers may choose to allow their children to choose from suitable mates they have chosen.

· Men: usually marry around the age of 25, and are generally about 10 years older than their wives.

· Women: usually marry between the ages of 15 and 20.
· Polygamy does
exist, but only if the man can afford to have more than one wife. More likely than not, men only have one wife.

· Divorce exists, a Muslim can say “I divorce you” three times, but divorce is a sign of social stigma. Women must return to their father’s house, and their families reputation might be ruined.

(Culture of bangladesh, 2011)

Bengali Wedding


· Muslim rule is that daughters get ½ of what the sons get. This is rarely followed, and so sons get all the inheritance, and then give their sisters produce or household goods as compensation.
· Widows may receive a portion of their husbands wealth, but usually all of it goes to the sons.
· Sons are honor bound to take care of their mothers and unwed sisters.
(Culture of bangladesh, 2011)


· Children are taught at an early age that individual needs come second to the needs of the family.
· Elders are to be respected, even in a group of children, the oldest child in the group is in charge.
(Culture of bangladesh, 2011)


· Education is a sign of wealth in Bangladesh. It is stressed for men to be well educated, but for women it is not.
· 75% of children go to primary school.
· Women are usually the first to drop out of school in urban settings, and boys in rural.
· Children begin school at the age of 5 or 6.
· The higher the socioeconomic status of the family, the more pressure there is for both boys and girls to finish primary school.
· Very few children go to college, because most families cannot afford it.
· Great value is placed on higher education, because so few can afford it. It is a sign of wealth.
(Culture of bangladesh, 2011)


· There are 38 different languages in Bangladesh.
· Bengali is the official language, and 98% of the population speaks it.
· English is also widely spoken.
· Other languages: Arkanses, Garo, Kokborok, etc.
(Background note, 2010)


· Music in Bangladesh is a huge part of their lives. It tells the story of the people.
· Three categories of music in Bangladesh are; Folk, Classical and Western Influenced Pop.
· Rabindra sangeet is one of the most well known genres of music, originating from Rabindranath Tagore. Some of his songs are;
o puja porjai (prayer songs)
o prem porjai (love songs) [some argue prem porjai is actually a part of puja porjai]
o bichitra porjai (variety songs)
o swadesh porjai (patriotic songs)
o (seasonal songs)

(Bangladesh: art, 2011)


· At weddings and on important holidays, food plays an important role. During holidays and formal functions, guests are encouraged to eat to their capacity/limit.
· At weddings, a common food is biryani, a rice dish with lamb or beef and a mixture of spices, especially saffron.
· A complete dinner might include; chicken, fish, vegetables, goat, or beef curries. The final bit of rice is finished with yogurt.



· Cricket: A game similar to baseball, only instead of three bases there are two, and the hitter runs back and forth until is tagged or their turn is over.

Cricket bat, ball and base

· Football (Soccer): Same as soccer in the United States, only vastly more popular.

· Kabaddi: Kind of like red rover meets capture the flag. In Kabaddi players stand across from each other and take turns running across the field and trying to tak down a member of the opposite team.

· Rugby: Like football mixed with soccer, and without pads Rugby can be a very dangerous sport. Although not very popular, Rugby is gaining popularity since 2007.

(Culture of bangladesh, 2011)


· A lot of the famous art from Bangladesh is pottery, either made out of clay or terracotta.
· Bangladesh also has a growing modern art lead by Zainul Ahedin, Zainul Ahedin, Qamrul Hasan. Anwarul Haque, Shafiuddin Ahnied, Shafiqul Amin, and Rashid Chowdhury (Bangladesh: art, 2011)



1. Which sport is not as popular as the others?
a. Rugby
b. Football
c. Cricket
d. Kabaddi

2. Education is a sign of what?
a. Poverty
b. Wealth or good social status
c. Social Stigma
d. Nothing specific

Answers: highlight to see answer

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Bangladesh: art and culture. (2011). Retrieved from

Background note: bangladesh. (2010, May 24). Retrieved from

Culture of bangladesh. (2011). Retrieved from South asia: bangladesh. (2011, April 25).

South asia: bangladesh. (2011, April 25). Retrieved from