Bangladeshi Wedding Songs and Dances

Bangladesh is known for its rich traditional music and dances, and when it is a Bangladeshi wedding we are talking about, it would be sufficient to say that it is a feast for the five senses. The vibrant colors of the clothes worn by the assembled guests, the swishing of the gorgeous silks worn by the men and women, and the harmonious sounds of the different musical instruments playing synchronously: all these and more will greet the wedding guest! You must remember that Bangladesh is a veritable melting pot of diverse cultures, and this fact is reflected in the music and dance of the country. A Bangladeshi wedding will therefore showcase some of the finest music and dances, and guests will enjoy themselves greatly as they dance and sing with the rest of the guests at the wedding!

Let me tell you a little of the diversity of Bangladeshi music. The music can be traditional, modern or folk, and at a Bangladeshi wedding, you can expect a blend of all three forms. Some of the prevalent folk songs and music traditions in Bangladesh are these: Bhatiali, Baul, Marfati, Murshidi and Bhawaiya. At a typical Bangladeshi wedding, the music can be a blend of any of these forms, and can be accompanied by these traditional old folk instruments: the Banshi or bamboo flute, the Dhole or wooden drums, the Ektara, a single stringed instrument, and the Mandira. These instruments are used in weddings today for songs set to foot tapping music. However, music for the wedding dances would not be complete without including the more modern day Guitar, Drums, Saxophone, and the versatile Synthesizer.

Bangladeshi dances show the distinctive influence of the traditional Indian classical dance forms, Bharathanatyam and Mohiniyattam, although Bangladesh has indeed developed its own striking blend of dance forms and styles. Of course, at a Bangladeshi wedding, you need not ‘know’ any particular dance form; all you would have to do is join in the ongoing fun and laughter with the other guests including the bride and the groom, and participate joyously in the occasion!

I am sure you must be curious about whether or not Qawwalis are used at Bangladeshi weddings! For those of you who do not know what a Qawwali is, it is a glorious form of traditional music dating back almost 700 years! Qawwalis were performed at Sufi shrines in older times, but today, thanks to the efforts of the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan the talented Pakistani singer, Qawwalis have become popular at Bangladeshi weddings too! Qawwalis are performed as a group, and are accompanied by the tabla, the dholak and by rhythmic clapping. Some Qawwalis today are set to racy Bollywood numbers, and can be performed while the guest help themselves to the buffet spread out for them. Guests can start dancing to these peppy numbers before they have eaten, or immediately afterward.  The general idea is that the bride and the groom and all their guests must have a lot of fun at the wedding, and how else can this be accomplished other than by song and dance?!

Now you know what to do when you are invited for a Bangladeshi wedding: put on your dancing shoes and go for it! Have fun!

This entry was posted in Wedding Ceremony. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Bangladeshi Wedding Songs and Dances

  1. Great article! What an insightful post you shared. I’m gathering different ideas from different cultures, in preparing for my dream wedding.

Comments are closed.