The traditional Khan Jahan Ali Mazar Fair, which has been held in Bagerhat for more than 500 years, has been cancelled due to an increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the country.
Fakir Sher Ali, the chief khadem of the Mazar, confirmed that the fair will not be held on Chaitra Purnima this year.
"The festival has been organised for more than 500 years. Millions of visitors come to this fair from different parts of the country. But this time we are not going to be able to organise the fair because of Covid-19. If the situation improves, the festival will be organised here again as usual," said Fakir Sher Ali.
He also discouraged the devotees from coming to the shrine from across the country amid the pandemic.
Deputy Commissioner of Bagerhat ANM Faizul Haque said, "Religious festivals and fairs will not be held near the Mazar on Chaitra Purnima due to the recent increase in Covid-19 cases. If the situation is normal, religious festivals and fairs will be held again next year."
However, local people have expressed frustration over the news of the cancellation of the long-awaited fair.
Motiar Rahman and Kamrul Hawlader, small traders adjacent to the shrine, said, "We make a living by selling various food items, toys, candles, and incense sticks throughout the year. We wait for the fair because a lot of people come here from all over the country during that time."
"With the income we have during the fair, we bear the expenses of the education of our children. But this year we will face financial problems due to the cancellation of the fair," they added.
Religious festivals and fairs have been held for four days, on the full moon of the month of Chaitra, at the premises of Khan Jahan Ali Mazar, for the last 500 years. Thousands of people, irrespective of their religion, come to this fair. The fair was supposed to be held from 26 to 31 March this year.