A three-day-long colourful Biju festival of the Chattogram Hill Tracts began in the district yesterday.
Prokriti Ranjan Chakma, president of Bangladesh Adivasi Forum's CHT unit, inaugurated the programme at Rajbari Ghat early in the morning.
The indigenous people in the CHT are now in a festive mood to welcome the Biju, Baisu, Bishu, Bihu and Sangrai festivals and the Bangla New Year.
People belonging to different ethnic groups arrange farewell to the past year and celebrate the Bangla New Year through various colourful programmes with new hopes in their mind.
Different ethnic groups call the festival by different names. The Chakma call it Biju, the Tanchangya Bishu, the Tripura Baisu and the Marma call the festival Sangrai.
For the Chakma, the first day's celebration starts with Phool Biju. On this day, they get up early, clean their houses and decorate them with flowers.
They also drop flowers in rivers, canals and springs to seek blessings of God for peace and prosperity.
In the evening, they go to Buddhist temples and light candles.
Today is Mulbiju, the last day of the Bangla month of Chaitra. On this day, they prepare a special food item popularly known as “pajon”. It is cooked with different items collected from the forest.
The last day of the festival is known as Goijja Pojjya Din. On this day, people take rest and go to monasteries nearby to pray for happiness in next one year.
During the festival, different cultural programmes, including Chakma dance, Marma Chata Nach, Jolkeli and Tripura Goraiya dance, are performed to highlight the indigenous people's distinctive cultural heritage.
A water festival, one of the most popular events of the Marma community, will take place in Narikel Bagan area of Rangamati town on April 18.