Shah Jalal (R)’s death anniversary and wood-cutting festival
The tradition of observing the death anniversary of the great sait Hazrat Shah Jalal (R) with grandeur dates back almost 700 years. This is held at the end of September and early October. Thousands of devotees throng his shrine. Various programmes including those of spiritual music are held. With the vibrant participation of devotees, the city of Sylhet adopts a colourful look.
Three weeks prior to the anniversary, a wood-cutting festival is held. Legend has it that on this very day in 1303, right after defeating King Gour Gabinda, Shah Jalal (R) along with his holy companions went to a nearby hill to collect firewood for cooking purposes. The word ‘firewood’ translates into lakri or lakka in Bangla and that is why the hill was eventually named Lakkatura. To commemorate the event every year a large number of devotees wrap themselves in red shawls, go to Lakkatura and return to the shrine with some firewood while paying tribute to his soul by singing spiritual songs.
The shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal (R) is in downtown Sylhet.
Besides, the death anniversary of Hazrat Shah Paran (R) is observed with comparable grandeur in the first week of January. His shrine is about seven kilometres east of Sylhet city centre.