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Observance of the day since 1953

The nation to immortalize 21st February has termed this day as ‘Amar Ekushay’ (immortal 21st) and commemorates its historical significance by observing it with due solemnity paying tribute and homage to the sons of soil for their heroic sacrifice to uphold the dignity of mother tongue. The Amar Ekushay extents into what is popularly known as the ‘Shaheed Day’ (Martyrs Day) that reflects upon the language movement on 21st February and the grand scale uprising to establish the due position of Bengali as the official language of the country.

As the clock strikes 00:00 hours, the Honourable President and Prime Minister begin the procession of the nation that pays its tribute to the martyrs at the Shaheed Minars (Monuments for Martyrs) all over the country. People from all walks of life wearing black badges and bare footed throng at the Shaheed Minar to show their respect to the sons of the soil. The children, youth, young and old, men and women walk towards the Shaheed Minar singing "Amar Bhaiyer Rakte Rangano Ekushey February Ami Ki Bhulite Pari" (21 February a day immersed in the blood of my brothers, can I ever forget it). The mass of people at every corner of the country lay wreaths of flower as a token of their respect and pledge a fresh vow to translate the dreams of the martyrs into reality towards establishing a democratic order, of a society free from exploitation and of economic emancipation of the nation.


Source: Prof Rafiqul Islam.
Rally of female students in front of DMC on 4.02.1952
  Source: Prof Rafiqul Islam.
Dawn March (Probhatferi) of female students on 21.02.1953.

A central coordinating committee draws up an official program for the observance of 21st February. Accordingly, the Honourable President of the country is the first to place wreaths at the central Shaheed Minar at one minute past midnight, followed by the Prime Minister and other ministers. The Shaheed Minar and its surroundings are decorated with Alpana (traditional painting on the roads), banners and festoons. Different political, educational, government, private, socio-cultural and professional organizations chalk out elaborate programs for the day that consists of placing wreaths, cultural functions and discussion sessions. The day is a public holiday and the national flag flies at half-mast atop all government and private buildings. Starting from midnight till the end of last hour of February 21, the central Shaheed Minar stands in glory in the midst of thousands of people and enormous flower wreaths.

Its significance transcends from language movement to symbolize the struggle for emancipation from the oppression of the oppressors. Through the sombre but intrinsically native observance the day continues to define the national and cultural identity that set Bengalis apart as a nation of independent people. It stands as a monumental pride for Bangladeshis who refused to accept domination and culminates into their victory for the mother language and the map of Bangladesh in the globe.


Source: Bangabandhu Foundation
Rally on 21.02.1954 by Moulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman marching barefoot to pay their tributes.