Bangladesh has unique ethnic practices, some of them are unique to their geographic location, and some are partially shared among neighboring states. Bangladeshi people rejoice their culture in home as well as abroad. Sometimes it may be difficult, in particular, when they are trying to fit in or immerse into the new culture abroad. However, Bangladeshis living in Hawaii have balanced the ethnicity of both the worlds by adapting Hawaiian cultural practices and maintaining their identity and connection to who they are. Thanks to “Aloha Spirit” of the Hawaiian culture extending their mutual regard and affection in caring with no obligation in return towards people of all ethnicity and background.
Approximately 15-20 families lead the existing Bangladeshi culture on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. However, the families vary in practicing their traditional cultural norms proportionate to their length of stay away from home country. As a photojournalist, I enjoy the diversity offered by the small ethnical groups as a part of broader society focusing their cultural norms in my work. The Bangladeshi population is more vibrant in the continental USA due to their presence in larger numbers. However, living in the isolated Island of Hawaii their cohesiveness is their strength maintaining who they are. Existing Bangladeshi families living about 7000 miles apart try to bring a touch of their home whenever there is an occasion which leads to bonding of the whole community. I am a Bangladeshi by birth and have lived there for the past 19 years. Growing up home I have attended quite a lot of wedding ceremonies in different platforms but never got a taste of attending a ceremony of my own culture in abroad.
Moving to Hawaii for my bachelors while living within the Bangladeshi community in the state, I had the opportunity to observe a home wedding ceremony of two Bangladesh born individuals coming together and getting married in a precise way. Ashikur, a University of Hawaii at Manoa doctorate from and Nilufar, a University of British Columbia doctorate managed to dig out a week vacation to get married. Living in the westernized society, it was struggling to carry out the whole procession in the original Bangladeshi style but at the end of the day I found it very unique to portray through my camera. Hawaii is always a choice for the dream destination wedding with the live ocean background. In contrast what I observed was not an ocean view live wedding ceremony but a home bounded cultural uniqueness and individuality.