Bara Din – Christmas in Bangladesh
As with many families and friends across the world, Bangladesh comes alive with festivities and decorations on Christmas day. In Bangladesh however, Christmas is often referred to as Bara Din, which means the “Big Day”. Churches are illuminated with lights and the festive spirit in anticipation of Bara Din, and it is a festival that is celebrated with love, joy and sharing. As the streets and homes start taking on the form of Christmas wonderlands, with trees, branches and lights adorning houses and lining streets, a feeling of compassion and understanding begins to fill the air.
Each city and town in Bangladesh celebrates Bara Din in their own unique way. The St. Mary’s Church in Dhaka hosts gatherings that last for days, whilst other churches invite the community to join them in decorating the Christmas tree and singing carols. But no matter how this festival of love and remembrance is celebrated, it remains a time of giving, forgiving and receiving the love that is shed by community members and the love of God.
Most families will spend Christmas Eve together, opening their gifts, talking and laughing, while Christmas songs linger in the background. Everyone heads off to bed quite early, as Bara Din is usually a busy day for all. On the morning of Bara Din, children get the opportunity to peak into their Christmas stocking before heading for the Christmas church service. Some times the church will organize a feast to be laid out after the service, allowing congregation members to mingle and eat together. Then, for the rest of the day, families and friends visit each other, going back and forth from home to home. By the end of Bara Din, everyone in Bangladesh has a full stomach and a full spirit, after spending the day with loved ones.
Bara Din is a day of blessings. People gather, taking time to talk and to get to know each other again. In the fast paced world we live in people seldom get the time to reach out to each other. But on Bara Din the sacrifice that was made by the Savior is remembered, his unconditional love and compassion for us is honored, and people get the opportunity to express their faith, belief and gratitude to him, and spread his love to those around them.