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Charak Puja

Charak Puja is a traditional Bangladeshi festival celebrated mainly in the rural areas by the Hindus. This Puja is also known as ’’Nil Puja’’, ’’ Hajrha Puja’’ or ‘’Batri Charak’’. The believers of the Hindu religion celebrate this puja on the last day of Chaitra month. Charak puja is also popular as ‘’Chaitra Songkranti’’. The day of Charak Puja is also known as ‘’Gajan’’. The Hindus believe that the festival will carry prosperity by eliminating the sorrow and the sufferings of the previous year. The Puja festival is actually a festival to satisfy ‘’Lord Shiva’ ’the great ‘’Debadideb’’ of Hindu religion and to be blessed with happiness and prosperity by the Lord Shiva. Though the festival takes place on the mid night of ‘’Chaitra Songkranti’’, the preparation phase usually starts before one month of the puja day. In fact, the last day of Chaitra month is observed all over rural Bangladesh as ‘’Chaitra Sangkranti’’. Charak Puja is not celebrated everywhere, due to its special ritual and religion bond. Charak Puja is performed by usually ten to twelve members. The bearers of the ritual are called Charkia and the main performer Deoboinshi. Charak Puja starts with the fasting period. Though the festival is celebrated on the midnight of Chaitra Sankranti, the preparations start at least a month in advance. The devotees keep fast for one complete month before performing the rituals. During this period the devotees can’t eat from morning to evening and live strictly on fruits and do their daily worship. This time bound ritual is called ‘’Brata’’. Many devotees observe a fast on the day of Charak Puja, until the midnight puja takes place. The rituals of Charak Puja, a way to show the miracle of ‘’Lord Shiva’’ are unique and at times a little risky. Around afternoon, the devotees gather to offer prayers to the Lord Shiva. Then the Puja arrangers make a stage of bamboo. The average height of these stages is about 3 to 5 meter. The ‘’Charkia’’ is tied with a ‘’Borshi’’ (a kind of hook) at the back and then is moved around a bar with a long roap. They impale their body parts without feeling any pain. In Bangladesh, Charak Puja is frequently found to take place at Patuakhali, Pabna, Sylhet, Gopalganj, Khulna, Jessor, Manikgonj and some other districts. The next day of Charak Puja is celebrated as ‘’Poila/Pohela Baisakh or Nabo Barsha (Bangla New Year) all over Bangladesh.

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