Friday, 17 September 2010

A muslim wedding in Bangladesh

The bride to be is looking really really excited and was kind enough to rub on some moquito cream for the camera.

I'm not sure if the wedding area for the future husband actually welcomes those two calves as well.

The King shall sit here!

Here comes the bride...oh no actually it's the husband to be.

And he brought a bus load of heavies for back up!

The bride's brother is so kind as to carry the able bodied man into the...well tent.

'I am the happiest man in the world'

'No actually, having handed over the bangles, earrings and a big suitcase full of goodies over which we have just argued, I am the happiest man in the world'

'I've been to way to many weddings; just sign here' says the not so interested but very pleasant Imam.

The bride is crying for some daft reason as she marries a man she has never spoken to before.

Finally someone with a solemn presence gives his blessings.

And the well wishers, especially the women go wild in celebration!!!!


Sunday, 12 September 2010

Eid Mubarak! Happy Eid!

30 days of fasting complete, it’s time to celebrate. With the completion of Ramadan, most of Bangladesh yesterday gave thanks to Allah for helping them to experience a little what life is like for those almost permanently without food. More obviously one would hope they gave thanks to the women of this country who slaved away preparing enormous amounts of food for festivities. There is probably a thanks in there for the tailors of the country too, who over the last month have been working day and night preparing a new outfit for the majority of people in the country – poor included but most hard core poor and non-Muslim communities excluded.

From my side, I’ve decided to lie low for these few days. Having been in Dhaka for a conference, I decided to hang out here with some fellow volunteers during the couple of day’s holidays rather than staying in my placement. In some ways I regret not being able to spend this time with my work colleagues who are mostly Muslim and who would have taken great pleasure in forcing me to eat my fourth plate of meat and fifth bowl of mishti! But in other ways it is nice to take a break and with the Hindu Durga Pughja coming up in October as well as another Eid celebration (called ‘Cow-slaughtering Eid’) in November, there will be lots of opportunities for me to enjoy local festivals, traditions and food.

That said, because I didn’t want to feel completely left out of what is for Muslims the equivalent of Christmas in Western Countries, I decided to go for a walk with my camera to one of the biggest parks in Dhaka, just next door to the Prime Minister’s House. As it happens, on Eid day the PM’s house is apparently open to anyone who would like to go in and have a look at what kind of cutlery or cups she uses. I decided against joining in as crowds were quite big (including all the ambassadors to Bangladesh) and I was getting way to much attention as it was.

I don’t think the photos capture the atmosphere so well but there was a lot of joy out there and the kids especially were in flying form. Then again, when marking the end of fasting for thirty days, who wouldn’t be.

Eid Mubarak everyone.

(slideshow of photos in to enlarge)