Journy through Bangldesh
The district of Magura has its own cultural heritage. Bororiar mela is the most ancient festivity of Magura district. Held in Bororia village in Mohammadpur upazilla, located 30 kms from the district headquarters, this fair is one of the prime festivals of Magura people, but is not confined to Magura alone. At the beginning, only the indigenous products were found in the fair. In course of time, however, it has turned into an ideal occasion for the sale and display of products coming from the adjoining districts and also from places as far as Chittagong.
Every year the fair is organized on Poush 28 (of the Bangla calendar) which is roughly in the second week of January. Although the fair is officially held for two days, sale of commodities continue for almost fifteen days.
In observance of the fair, Bororia and the adjoining villages wear a joyous festive mood. People from different parts of the country assemble at their relations' and friends' houses in Bororia and the adjoining villages on the occasion of this traditional fair. Women, young or old, of almost all the houses in the villages get busy in making sweets, indigenous cakes and other delicacies to entertain guests.
The visitors to the fair are drawn by a variety of goods, wooden furniture, toys, cooking utensils, spades, hoes, knives, scissors, attractively designed saris and lungis (a piece of cloth that men wrap around their bodies from waist down) made by local weavers and handlooms. Goods also come from Chittagong which include among other things, various exotic hand-made ornaments made of sea-shells.
The most fascinating place and event for the children are the chain of sweetmeat stalls and the ride on the merry-go-round. Children with their parents and close ones throng before these stalls for delicious sweetmeats such as roshomalai, para-sandesh, khamarpara, doi and khirer sandesh. For grown-ups the special attractions of Bororia mela are the horse race, lathi-khela (fight with sticks), jatra-pala (folk opera), puppet show and various kinds of traditional games such as, ha-do-do, wrestling, jhapan-khela (a risky game of snake-charming) etc.
Despite the gradual invasion of foreign cultures into our lives, the traditional fair continues to be an event of perennial entertainment, particularly for people in the rural areas. Among the people who sell their wares at the mela is sixty-two year old Saifullah, a toy seller from Narail district. “I have been selling goods in this fair for the last 32 years. Besides the necessary business of trading, the fair makes it possible for me to meet old friends and make new ones too.” In a similar vein, a furniture trader from Jessore, Habibur Rahman says, “Every year I wait for this fair to sell my goods. I get a good market for business in Bororiar mela.”
Although no historic record of this fair is available, a story goes that Sanu Sardar of Bororia village initiated it over 150 years ago, and till today this fair has been one of the prime festivals of the Magura people.
(R) thedailystar.net 2006