The 16th December is very important for the estimated 240 million Bangladeshis across the world. In Bangladesh itself it is celebrated with great enjoyment. Unlike Ekushe February, which has serious overtones because of the martyrdom of students for the sake of the Bangla language, this date celebrates the victory of East Pakistan fighting for its independence against West Pakistan after most of 1971 locked in bitter conflict.
By happy coincidence, the Bangla for ‘victory’ is ‘joy’ (hence the title of this post which is a customary saying in Bangladesh – a bit like ‘God save the Queen’ in the UK, I guess). ‘Joy’ is the right way in both Bangla and English to describe how the Bangladeshis – as a nation – feel about this day.
At LAMB, the fun is taken very seriously! It starts with all the students gathering first thing in the morning outside the school building to sing the National Anthem and to pray for the day and for the country. Then it’s on to the field for games that go on all until lunchtime.
The games involve running in various forms – some have to then grab dangling sweets using only their mouths from the rope at one end and then run back to the start. Some, as happened in Thing II’s game, have to run, answer a quiz sheet and then return to the beginning. There are many other games played that are very inventive and, of course, lots of fun.
In the afternoon, everyone gathers at the main marquee and performances of songs, dances and even instrumentals take place. The children do a lot of the performing but adults perform too. Thing I danced three times – the last as a duet with Wifey – but as I was chief video camera operator at the time, I have no photos to show you. I think I may find myself divorced if I put the videos on Youtube…
Below is a slideshow (my first!) of some of the pictures I took. Notice how many are dressed in red and/or green – the traditional colours of Bangladesh. Such festivals are times for everyone to show off their clothes and the women inevitably look stunning. I include one blurry picture of a friend to give you an impression. Sorry that the camera did not behave on this day.
My son, alas, didn’t get his camera until after I had finished videoing dances but, despite failing light, it didn’t stop him snapping away as you can see here.
Enjoy this collection of odd shots from the day. Again, apologies for the quality – I’m no photographer, that’s for sure.