The Chakma's are a people with their own culture, folklore, literature and traditions. The Chakma women wear an ankle length cloth around the waist which is also called Phinon and also a Haadi wrapped above the waist as well as silver ornaments. The Phinon and the Haadi are colourfully hand weaved with various designs. The design is first embroidered on a piece of cloth known as Alaam.
 Traditional Dress

The most important festivals celebrated by the Chakmas are Bizu and Buddha Purnima.


Bizu is the most important socio-religious festival of the Chakma.This festival gave birth to the Bizu dance.The festival lasts for three days and begins on the last day of the month of Chaitra.The first day is known as Phool Bizu. On this day, household items, clothes are cleaned and washed, food items are collected to give the house a new look with the veil of different flowers. The second day known as Mul Bizu day starts with the bath in the river. People wear new clothes and make rounds of the village. They also enjoy specially made vegetable curry known as "Pazon ton", different homemade sweets and take part in different traditional sports. The day ends with the Bizu dance. The last day, which is known as Gojjepojje din involves the performances of different socio-religious activities. In the context of its nature some say that Bizu is a festival, which revolves around agricultural activities, Because, it is celebrated in mid-April when the earth is just drenched with the first rain and the jum sowing is taken up. And it is believed that with the objective of getting rich harvest worship of the earth was arranged which later on took the form of a festival.However oflate it has lost its agricultural character.

Biju Picture

Buddha Purnima

It is celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Baisakh.It actually encompasses the birth, enlightenment (nirvāna), and passing away (Parinirvāna) of Lord Buddha.On the day of the worship devotees go to the monastery with Siyong (offerings of rice,vegetable and other fruits and confectionaries).The Buddhist priests known as Bhikkhu lead the devotees for chanting of mantra composed in Pali in praise of the holy triple gem: The Buddha, The Dharma (his teachings), and The Sangha (his disciples).Apart from this,other practices such as lighting of thousands of lamps, releasing of Phanuch Batti (an auspicious lamp made of paper in the form of a balloon) are also done as and when possible.
Religious Festival


(Chakma Personal & Family Law)

It is essential for Mauza Headmen and Village Karbaries, while administering justice, issuing succession certificates and carrying out other ancillary administrative responsibilities on Chakma Personal and Family Law, to ensure that the applicable laws, customs, usages and practices are followed, particularly on marriage, divorce, guardianship and custody of children, maintenance and succession matters. 

Extracts from relevant judgments and orders of the Court of the Chakma Raja are hereby reproduced to ensure that the same are adhered to and followed.

Affidavits on Marriage before Notaries Public

Subject Matter:

Where marriages are not conducted in accordance with Chakma laws, customs, usages and practices and affidavits are sworn/affirmed before Notaries Public, the same are not legal and valid according to Chakma Law, and consequently, Bangladeshi Law. Where such marriages are conducted, Mauza Headmen and Village Karbaries are hereby advised to take appropriate measures in accordance with Chakma laws, customs, usages and practices without any fear or hesitation.

Source:  Misc. Case No. 1 of 2001 of the Court of the Chakma Raja

Consent of Bride / Bride’s Father regarding Marriage

Subject Matter: Marriages among Chakmas were hitherto not valid without the consent of the father or other legal guardian of the woman. However, it is seen that presently, and in recent times, the consent of the father or other legal guardian is not provided in the absence of consent from the daughter. Chakma society now considers the father/other legal guardian’s consent, consequent upon the daughter’s consent, as the amended and prevailing custom with regard to the consent of bride’s party.  In the circumstances, a marriage conducted in the absence of the daughter’s consent will be regarded as illegal and void in accordance with Chakma laws, customs, practices and usages, and consequently, Bangladeshi law.

Mauza Headmen and Village Karbaries are hereby advised to mount public awareness campaigns on the issue to ensure that the prior consent of daughters are obtained before marriage formalities are concluded.

Source:  Misc. Case No. 1 of 2010 of the Court of the Chakma Raja

N.B.     The consent of the father or other legal guardian is not required in the case of women that have been widowed or divorced.

Guardianship and Custody of Children

Subject Matter: Hitherto, in the case of divorce among Chakma couples, the custody of children was decided on the basis of whether the child concerned had been weaned (dependent upon mother’s milk) or not, and fathers had priority for custody in the case of weaned children and mothers had priority for un-weaned  children.

It is seen that presently, and in recent times, even in the case of weaned children, fathers are not claiming child custody or fathers’ claims for child custody are being denied by Chakma society.

Given that the welfare of the child is now considered by Chakma society, in the nature of a currently-accepted and changed custom, as the most important criterion with regard to the grant of child custody, the previously prevailing priority of fathers with regard to custody of weaned children is now regarded as illegal and unacceptable and contrary to human rights and Child rights.

In the circumstances, the welfare of the child will henceforth be considered as the most important criterion to determine the custody of children in the case of divorces, irrespective of whether the child concerned is weaned or un-weaned. Mauza Headmen and Village Karbaries will decide upon the matter of child custody based upon discussions with the female and male members of the parties concerned (wife and husband) and in consultation with the male and female (traditional and elected) leaders of the areas of both parties. Transparent, participatory, non-discriminatory and just processes shall similarly be followed

in the case of guardianship and maintenance of children.

N.B.     Irrespective of whether the father or the mother is granted the custody of a child, the responsibility of guardianship of the child concerned, at least until the child attains majority, shall continue to be vested upon both parents, with both parents having visiting rights.

Raja Devasish Roy

Chakma Raja


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