December 25, 2003


To start with, it is a holiday in Bangladesh. It has been in Bengal for 225 years ever since the British East India Company started to rule the region. Whereas X-Mas (December 25th) was declared a federal Holiday in America on June 26, 1870.

There is a small Christian population here. There is roughly one Christian in every 324 Bangladeshis. However the Christian community is well bonded and are widely known as an amiable community.

There is a comprehensive article by Jerome D'Costa about Christianity in Bangladesh

Some excerpts:

Arab traders and aulias (holy men) brought Islam to Bangladesh through Chittagong and Sylhet in the 9th century AD. The Portuguese traders also brought Christianity to this country through the port of Chittagong, called the Porto Grande or the great port, in the 16th century, but the first church in Bangladesh was built in 1599 at Chandecan (also called Iswaripur or old Jessore) near Kaliganj in the Sunderbans of present Satkhira district.

The usual programs of the X-Mas day, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, include special prayers at churches, decoration of Christmas tress, distribution of gifts by Santa Claus to the children, family reunion and feast.

One notable thing here; the Christmas carols and the church hymns are mostly Bengali songs written by the poet Rabindranath Tagore. I like Tagore songs and I was overwhelmed when I found out that they are sang in church in holy spirit. And the decoration of Christmas trees is not visible as there is a small Christian population. But in City's luxurious hotels, including the five-star ones, X-Mas trees are decorated and they have arranged special programs for all offering foods and gift packages for families and children. 'Santa Claus' is also there with gifts. The foods at houses include rice cakes and other delicious items including wine.

But mass scale consumption is not evident here. I have seen that many of the Christians are true believers. The reason for that I guess being a minority helps them to be unite and keep them closer to god as:

"His place is with those who do not belong, who are rejected by power because they are regarded as weak, those who are discredited, who are denied the status of persons, tortured, excommunicated. With those for whom there is no room, Christ is present in this world." (via Laura)

Wishing everyone merry X-Mas and may God bless us all.


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