2 months ago

Hoomguti: 250-year-old local heritage of Bangladesh

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Sports are an integral part of any culture, and in Bangladesh, they are deeply embedded in the country's cultural heritage. Local sports, in particular, have played a significant role in shaping the nation's identity and have been passed down from generation to generation. 

Bangladesh is home to a diverse range of traditional sports, of which Kabaddi is the most popular. 

Although the origins of most sports are hard to trace, a few have been around for over a hundred years. Hoomguti is a local game and a tradition in Mymensingh that has been organised for over 250 years.

This game involves only one piece of equipment: a huge 40-kilogram brass ball. The rules are quite simple: fill up the ball with earth, place it in a barren field, and whoever snatches the ball for themselves wins. 

This game takes place in Fulbaria Upazilla of Mymensingh every year on the last day of the Bengali month Poush, locally called Puhura.

Thousands of people from nearby villages come to participate and watch this traditional game. There are no limits on the number of players in this game, so hundreds of people representing their villages participate and try to take the brass ball for themselves amidst the huge crowd. It's alleged that this is the game with the most participants.

The game generally starts in the morning and is held for a few hours. But sometimes, it extends into the evening or night as well. 

Whenever someone succeeds in securing the brass ball for themselves or hides it in their houses, the game ends, and he and his village are announced the winners of Hoomguti for the year. 

After the game, there is a huge feast in the village, where everyone joins in a festive mood and formally concludes the annual Hoomguti.

One surprising thing is that even though there are no distinct rules and regulations for this game and thousands of people participate in it, there is rarely news of any clashes or major injuries among the participants. 

Hoomguti is a game with no hazards and a major cultural heritage of Mymensingh that brings thousands of villagers together for entertainment and socialisation. Such games are a rare gem of Bangladesh and must be preserved and organised for centuries.

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