Shakrain – a celebration of kites and lights – is one of the oldest festivals of Bangladesh. It starts with kite flying and ends with unity and friendship.
The festival is an annual celebration in Dhaka which marks the end of the ninth month of Bengali calendar – Poush. The day is also known as Poush Sankranti and Shakrain or Ghuri Utshob.
Shakrain is celebrated mostly in the southern part of Dhaka city where colourful kites fill the sky.
Also read: Shakrain: Recognising the root of Old Dhaka
Thousands of people get on their rooftops to sing, dance and fly kites of different colours and shapes. They also have kite fights with their neighbours.
And when the winter sun starts setting, parties and fireworks take over the festivities. Music awakens the whole town and flamboyant groups arrange daylong programmes, including concerts and parties.
Flame-eaters and fire-spinners gather on rooftops to entertain people with their skills.
A UNB Photojournalist captured the colours and lights of Shakrain at Old Dhaka on Thursday.
People of Old Dhaka fly kites from the roof of their apartment complexes to celebrate Shakrain.
Youths climb to their rooftops to sing and dance.
Flame-eaters entertain people with their skills.
Dazzling light shows brighten Old Dhaka’s night sky.
It was a visual delight when several renowned theatre personalities and artists launched a day-long cleanliness campaign in Dhaka on Wednesday by sweeping the Central Shaheed Minar area with a broom in hand.
"As one of the most prominent and remarkable monuments in Bangladesh, which was at the centre-front of our glorious Language Movement in 1952, Central Shaheed Minar reminds us of our love and sacrifice for our mother tongue. The monument should be kept clean all the time," said Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) chief Liaquat Ali Lucky, inaugurating the event.
"Besides Dhaka, we are holding similar programmes in all the districts with the help of local Shilpakala Academy branches and artistes," said Liaquat Ali, also the founder of the People’s Theatre Association (PTA) that had jointly organised the day-long cleanliness campaign, a cultural event and an art camp at the Central Shaheed Minar with BSA.
On the Academy’s upcoming events marking the International Mother Language Day, Lucky said, "BSA will organise a programme at the Central Saheed Minar every month from now on, and we will arrange a light and sound show at the monument in February aimed at portraying the history of the country's language movement."
Also Read: Cleanliness campaign held at IU
Jamal Ahmed, Biren Shome, Fazlur Rahman Bhutan, Syeda Mahbuba Karim Mini, Shahjahan Ahmed Bikash, Kiriti Ranjan Biswas, Karu Titas, Farzana Islam Milki, Farhana Afroz Bappi, Kabir Ahmed Masum Chisti, Farzana Ahmed Urmi, Rashed Sukhon, Sujon Mahbub and Nur Munjerin Rimjhim participated at the art camp and created artworks depicting the language movement and International Mother Language Day.
At the art camp, veteran artist Biren Shome made a painting depicting people placing floral wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar with three birds in flight in the background. Jamal Ahmed created a work depicting founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Syeda Mahbuba Karim Mini made a painting portraying the language movement, showing revolutionaries holding rallies with placards demanding Bangla as the state language in 1952.
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Artistes from BSA also presented enthralling cultural performances, while Bangladesh Shishu Acrobatic Dol entertained the audience by performing a stunning display of balance and tricks.
At the event, Shamima Chowdhury Alis recited poems on the language movement, followed by BSA Baul troupe's presentation of folk songs. Child artistes of the Academy presented a production, titled ‘Jonmo Shoto Borshe Jatir Pita', comprising songs and dance, written and directed by Liaquat Ali Lucky.
Sustainability has never been under the spotlight as much as it has been in the last few years. With the epidemic slowing global movement dramatically, CO2 emissions are dropping due to flight cancelations and lockdown in many parts of the world, while many coal and oil mining projects have been delayed or halted altogether. Arguably for the time ever, seeing transparent progress in eco-conversation has become apparent. With large organisations taking advantage of the situation of making the world a greener place, the common man can follow suit that can establish the same impact, if not more. Living eco-friendly in Dhaka can be a little tricky at first, but once accustomed, these changes will definitely have a lasting impact.
Bringing Tupperwares and Cups Outside
Recycling has always been used when sustainability-oriented organizations try to drive home the necessity to act, and it’s hard to avoid it when we want to make simple, yet effective changes. More and more consumers are following the trend of bringing their own tupperwares and cups when going out for a coffee or grabbing takeaway from a restaurant. It’s surprising how much waste is accredited to discarded styrofoam packets and plastic cups, which is why a small act like this can make a whole world of difference.
Granted, lugging around plastic cups and tupperware has the hindrance of filling up your bag “needlessly” and worrying about washing more dishes when getting home could deter the masses from adopting this lifestyle, but the reduction of waste will make a whopping difference. In addition, using reusable plastic bottles or flasks are more common eco-friendly alternatives, while brands like Starbucks are beginning to see success by incentivizing metal straws.
Bringing Your Own Grocery Bag
Many countries are realising the dangers of disposing plastic bags on such a colossal scale that 76 of them have banned the mass distribution of them altogether. Bangladesh has the honor of being the first country to implement this order in 2002. Living in a country that saw the urgency of environmental conservations before others, keeping the vision alive in 2021 is encouraged. As waste, plastic bags have been tracked as one of the most prominent ecological hazards that contribute to water pollution and a direct threat to animal life.
Bringing your own cotton or Jute bag ensures a far better make, can double as a fashion statement on top of supporting a noble cause. Organic groceries can be troublesome to wash out of some reusable materials, but it is well worth the effort for better quality bags that are far more lasting. Buying more reusable bags for heavier grocery shopping sprees are important to consider as doing so will mitigate the need to use plastic bags period.
Saving Water & Electricity
The consequences of wasting electricity is more severe than people assume. Greenhouse gas emissions and carbon emissions are in play when flammable sedimentary is crushed and heated to form electricity. Wastage doesn’t seem so bad when leaving the lights on accidentally overnight or leaving the air conditioner on with an open window, but micro oversight tends to add up and contributes to unnecessary pollution. Water waste poses a different set of problems. Much like electricity, draining the resource of drinkable water doesn’t seem like much initially, but collectively can usher great consequences.
Thankfully, there is little need to go out of your way to stay savvy with your water and electricity. Using LED light bulbs, swap to energy-efficient air conditioners, use eco-friendly water heaters and minimising the use of dish washing machines are all simple ways to stay ahead of conservation without taking up additional time or effort. Turning the water off when rinsing in soap during a shower or turning the tap off when rinsing dishes with soap are small ways to make a difference that can become a habit when practiced enough.
It’s 2021 and the epidemic doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Despite heightened security and prompt responses in many parts of the world, the future remains uncertain and another lockdown could be imminent at any time. Unlike the first wave, everyone is better prepared; which means that picking up a new hobby during prolonged isolation could be the perfect opportunity to turn a grim situation into a productive one that we’d never have the time for otherwise. Here are a few hobbies to pick up if you find yourself back into quarantine.
Surprisingly baking has been taking the world by storm recently, especially among millennials. Being deprived from outside food during a confinement period can make any foodie go crazy- which is just the void that baking fills. Much like cooking, baking is an expression of one’s creativity and even character based on the dishes chosen. Your ingredient pool is reasonably sized and an oven will pretty much be the main tool you’ll be using. Sourdough bread, cookies and brownies are existing staples that can never go wrong if you decide to share your talents with loved ones. Many consider the hobby therapeutic, and maybe the ideal option to find your center in the midst of the current global situation.
Another hobby that seems to be picking up traction. Botany is best suited for the calm soul that is keen to nurture and literally bear fruits after months of “labour”. You don’t necessarily need a fancy garden to get started - dish gardening is more than enough to begin. In the dish, you’d naturally need the basic necessities of soil, sunlight and water; depending on the plant type of course and based completely on what your local plant store recommends. Dish gardening usually doubles as a decor piece for your living space and can be filled with colorful stones and figurines. Ultimately, committing to this hobby bears the responsibility of nurturing life; and if you are looking for a meaningful hobby - this should be on the top of your list.
This hobby may seem a little ambiguous at first, but it allows you to truly venture into many specialities with little to no effort. Music creation, podcast recording or even remixing fall under the description that caters to many different kinds of talents. Having strengths in storytelling or an aptitude for rhythm can converge online, using applications such as Audio Concepts and Garage Band respectively. The sky’s the limit with this hobby and can be shared privately if you are too shy to post any of your creations online. If doing this alone seems challenging, podcasting and storytelling can easily be done with a couple of friends and family virtually without having to leave the house. The only foreseeable barrier that could prevent some from trying audio production out is paying for some, more advanced sound software and having access to a quality microphone set.
More often than not, new year's resolutions are commonly associated with fitness aspirations to the point where we can seem a little overdone, but if there’s any time to get into shape - now is a better time than any. With 2021 starting with much uncertainty due to the epidemic, lockdown can return at any time and staying healthy through it all can provide a huge boost in confidence and mood. Here are a few tips to help you reach your fitness goals in 2021.
Decide What Kind of “Fit” You Want To Be
Being healthy has so much to it and people decide to begin their fitness lifestyle for drastically different reasons. Whether it’s for dopamine release in the form of jogging or getting cut to impress your friends - the regime that you’ll commit to will vary dramatically. For those who are keen on long distance exercises like running, swimming or cycling; it’s important to note that endurance doesn’t come overnight - especially for beginners. Conditioning the body will take time and dedication, which starts with untimed distance milestones.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to put on muscle - bodyweight exercises and weights are your go to. The troublesome part about embarking on this journey is the possible expenditure on equipment to diversify your routine as much as possible. It doesn’t have to be fancy by any means, but having a solid plethora of options can help you mix it up every few weeks.
Alternatively, just wanting to be active is a far simpler goal that can easily be achieved with fun activities. Picking up sports like basketball or football are classic pastimes that enables you to bring people together (keep safety distancing rules in mind). Learning a brand new skill set on top of working on stamina is a stellar option to ease into fitness.
Easing into an Active lifestyle
More applicable to beginners, easing into fitness can be initially intimidating. It is difficult to compartmentalise exercises to JUST being a hobby, as result-oriented activities almost always require practice. With you’re tight for time, classes are a good way to start because you will be guided by experienced instructors, and booking classes will make it harder to cancel! Ideally, training between three to four times a week will condition your body to adapt, even if it is tough at the start. If the frequency is too much to handle initially, HIIT workouts are a great start. Even if done twice a week, HIIT guarantees intensity in small sessions that last between15 to 45 minutes. Although not optimal, it is something to consider if you are drowning in other responsibilities.
Also read: Mental fitness is also important: Mominul
Unfortunately, dieting is a vital component that goes hand in hand with fitness and training. For weight loss and even staying in shape. It’ll help with muscle building and weight loss dramatically. If it’s difficult to go cold turkey, we recommend trying to ration out junk food to one meal every two days to start with and slowly transition to having junk food only on weekends. When you are comfortable with your new meal plan, the ultimate goal is to condense all the unhealthy delights to one dedicated cheat day (or even meal). Dieting is half the battle and even mild alterations in fitness and in food intake can give you results in a few months.
Maintaining the Active Lifestyle
Once you’ve settled into a relatively consistent workout schedule and make some changes to your diet, it’s inevitable that you’ll lose some steam in a couple of months. One of the most effective ways to avoid this is by switching up your workouts ever so often to keep things interesting. If you’re going for weight loss, long distance workouts can turn into HIIT, yoga, sports and more.
Having a training partner is another way to keep your head in the game. Nothing beats solid accountability from a partner when procrastination starts to hit. The tricky part about this strategy is if either party decides to postpone, rescheduling will start to snowball if all workouts are meant to be done together. Once again, being committed to classes is a slightly safer way to avoid straying away. Lastly, clever scheduling can bring you far if there are certain hours in the day you could slot your workouts in effectively. Sacrificing precious time you could spend with loved ones may sting a little at first, but is necessary for long-term commitment. It is advised to go for alternate days of exercise to let your body have the rest it needs.