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Bangladesh diocese revives traditional theater peformance to promote Good News

In the division of Barishal, in the southern part of Bangladesh, people love music and singing. They love holding theatrical performances.

In recent years, theatrical works with religious messages have become an important tool for the Church in the area to impart the message of the Gospel.

Unfortunately, traditional works, like the "Pala Gaan," have been on the decline due to lack of support ad the onslaught of modern media and entertainment.

But some groups continue to perform occasionally, especially with the support of the Catholic Church. 

In recent years, an awakening of consciousness about culture and religious practices has been noted in several places in the country.

Through the initiative of the Social Communication Commission of the Barisal Catholic Diocese, a workshop on "Pala Gaan" was organized with the aim to revive the tradition.

"Pala Gaan, also known as "Podaboli Kirtan," is a popular folk tradition found in rural areas in Bangladesh. 

It is believed to have originated in Sankirtan, a genre of ancient Hindu religious performance that uses recitation, music and dance to narrate spiritual or religious ideas and stories.

For centuries, "Pala Gaan" continued purely as an oral tradition, but in some areas teams have penned scripts to better preserve it for the future. 

"In light of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, the local Catholic Church tried to inculturate the liturgy by including the use of traditional music and dance," said Father Anol Terence.

"Christianized" popular folk-religious traditions, like "Pala Gaan," now use stories from Bible that have become very popular among young people. 

It usually takes up to 20 singers, actors, dancers, and musicians to stage a show, but "Pala Gaan" audience can find in the performance a "soulful, spiritual connection," said Father Terence.

He said the revival of traditional performances has become part of the Barishal Catholic Diocese's response to the mission of "promoting the Good News of Christ through social communication."

The diocese is planning to compile into a booklet all the "Pala Gaan" compositions and record the performances "for preservation and propagation” - Father Nikhil Gomes



Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.


david bakewell…, Jun 05 2020 - 7:12pm
how great, Anol, to recover traditions; TV is a form of colonialism, le us seek our own!