There’s More to Festivals Than Just Celebrations

Bangladesh is a land of colorful festivals – religious and purely homegrown ones. People do celebrate them with great passion and zeal. Some of the festivals are celebrated in much larger scale and some others by small sections of the population with not much pomp or grandeur.
As a predominantly Muslim country, religious festivals such as Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha are celebrated in this country with great festivity. The Hindu community also celebrates some religious festivals throughout the year, Durga Puja being the largest one that draws the most attention.
For the Buddhists, the Buddha Purnima is the major festival while for the members of Christian community the celebration of Christmas remains the most important event.
Besides the religious festivals, there are a few celebrations that have their roots in the soil of Bangladesh. The commemoration of those occasions annually is ingrained in the culture of this country.
Festivals mean fiesta, joy, and merriment. The days that the people celebrate are, of course, different from regular days. The poor and the rich alike try to eat the best foods and wear new and beautiful attire. There’s no denying that lower-income families cannot afford all the celebrations to their heart’s content. Regardless, they still try their best to celebrate the occasions, religious or otherwise, within their means.

As a predominantly Muslim country, religious festivals such as Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha are celebrated in this country with great festivity.

So, these celebrations do cost people money. Rich and poor alike are required to spend money in addition to their usual living expenses within their capacity. They spend additional amounts of money on food, clothing, transportation, etc., on the occasion of the festivals. And that is the economic aspect of the celebrations.
Big festivals involve significant spending. However, most people do not mind spending an extra amount on festivals, depending on their capacity.
Among all religious festivals in Bangladesh, Eid-ul-Fitr is the biggest of all. People spend a considerable sum of money every year on special foods, clothes, shoes, home-bound journeys and tourism on the occasion of Eid-ul- Fitr, celebrated at the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
It is estimated that businesses involved in food and clothing do have nearly 25% of their annual turnover on one single occasion – Eid-ul-Fitr. Traders make preparations and wait eagerly for this big event every year. Apparel makers try to be innovative in bringing out dresses suiting the taste of the old and the youth.
Footwear and electronic goods traders also target the Eid festivals. Some people choose these occasions to buy electronic goods, home appliances and furniture on the eve of the main religious celebrations.
From time immemorial, people have been spending money on festivals. But with the passage of time, the spending has been on the rise with the businesses using various tools to woo customers. The development of the advertising industry has a role in the demand creation. Moreover, the mode of celebration has also changed over time.
For instance, three to four decade back, during the Eid festivals, people besides visiting the houses of friends and relatives, used to go to movie houses. That is why film producers used to wait very eagerly to release new high-budget movies during these festivals. But movies do not attract the affluent and middle-class people anymore. Many wealthy and middle-class families visit tourist spots both at home and abroad during Eid festivals.

Big festivals involve significant spending. However, most people do not mind spending an extra amount on festivals, depending on their capacity.

The Bengali New Year’s Day celebration remains the most important one beyond the major religious festivals. In fact, it is the biggest cultural event that the people celebrate these days. The mode of celebration has assumed greater dimension in recent years. People take part in colorful processions wearing new dresses, attend both indoor and outdoor cultural programs and make unique dishes on the day. Three to four decades back, the celebration was not as extensive as it is today.
The businesses are also trying to cash in on the expanded mode of celebration of the event. They produce sarees and punjabis and other dresses matching the tastes of the younger generation in particular. Eateries do brisk business on the day.
There is no denying that companies have played a significant role to expand the economic aspect of festivals in Bangladesh. They have successfully aroused an urge among the people to celebrate the festivals in a more interesting manner that has always offered financial benefits for them.
Some major festivals, naturally, generate additional demand for goods and services in the economy and this is important for the economy to grow at a healthy rate. True, a large part of the market is consumption-oriented. But it plays a significant role in feeding the manufacturing sector of the economy also.
Since more than one-fourth of the annual turnover of some segments of businesses comes from the largest religious festival – Eid-ul-Fitr, one can well guess the importance of that annual event in the government’s revenue mobilization efforts and the overall economy.
So, festivals are not just celebrations. They do play a major role in the economy.

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