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  TRIBE 05

The vast majority of the Chakma are followers of Theravada Buddhism, a religion that they have been practising for centuries. Of late, reports surfaced that several foreign and local missionaries have been trying to convert the Chakmas in to Christianity without success. This created resentment and upset among some Chakmas.

Originally speaking a language belonging to the Tibeto-Burman family, some of the Chakmas have been influenced by neighboring Chittagonian, an Eastern Indo-Aryan language closely related to Bengali. Many linguists now consider the modern Chakma language (known as Changma Vaj or Changma Koda) part of the Southeastern Bengali branch of Eastern Indo-Aryan language. Changma Vaj is written in its own script, known as Ojhopath.Chakma language is written in an alphabet which allowing for its cursive form, is almost identical with the Khmer character, which was formerly in use in Cambodia, Laos, Siam and southern parts of Burma.

The Chakma's are a people with their own culture, folklore, literature,traditions. The Chakma women wear an ankle length cloth around the waist which is also called Phinon and also a Khadi wrapped above the waist. The phinon and the khadi are colourfully hand weaved with various designs, the whole designs being first embroidered on a piece of cloth known as alam.

Biju the three day long festival is the main cultural festival of Chakma People marking the end of the Bengali calendar. It's celebrated with singing, dancing, drinking and general merriment on the 13 April every year. The day is a public holiday only in Chittagong Hill Tracts.



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