Faiths Of Bangladesh

Faiths Of Bangladesh

Melting Pot
Bangladesh is well established as a secular republic and a melting pot of faiths. There is good integration of religions into the national culture, which is illustrated by people's participation in the festivities of all religions. History probably has a major role to play in this. Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Buddhists have all lived in Bengal for long periods of time.

 

History of Religions in Ancient Bengal

The area that is now Bangladesh has been civilized for the last 4500 years. The Aryan tribes lived here around 2500 BC. Then the Buddhists came and built their great universities and monasteries all over Bengal. The Hindus then built their empires here. And then the Arabs and the Turks came and they were the ones who introduced Islam to Bengal. By the 16th century, the Mughal Empire, originally from the far north, made Bengal their home and further influenced the religious beliefs of the people.

 

Islam

Islam is the presently the official religion in Bangladesh and is practiced by some 86 % of the country's inhabitants. The majority of the populations who follow Islam pursue the Sunni branch of the religion.

 

Hinduism

Hinduism in Bangladesh dates back to hundreds of years. The Hindus here have colorful festivals that are celebrated with aplomb throughout the country. Most of the Hindu community is concentrated in the northwestern and southwestern areas of Bangladesh.

 

Christianity is also practiced in the country, but the Christian community makes up only about 1 to 2% of our population. The religion came to Bengal through Portuguese traders in the 16th century, and later in a much larger scale through the English in the 18th century. The majority of Christians in Bangladesh are members of the Roman Catholic Church. Christmas is a public holiday in Bangladesh and Christmas is widely celebrated here.

 

Buddhism

The Buddhist community in Bangladesh is mostly concentrated in the Chittagong Hills area in the southeast. Most Buddhist rituals focus on the image of the Buddha, and the major festivals observed by Buddhists in Bangladesh commemorate important events of his life.