The 'Sanyasi Mela' has begun in Bogura's Poradaha area as it does every year. This year's arrangements include giant fish and mega sized sweets as they have before.
The festival is billed as the biggest gathering in the area, and is held on the last Wednesday of the Bengali month of Magh every year. But, people start thronging to the fairground from Tuesday, and they celebrate 'Jamai-Bou Mela' [groom and bride fair] on Thursday after the main event on Wednesday.
There are numerous local accounts of how the fair actually began. Many believe that local people organised the event with the consent of a Sanyasi [Hindu religious man]. Many celebrate the event as a fish festival, while others call it 'Poradaha Fair'.
There are a variety of products offered at the fair — from betel nuts to needlework of different kinds. This year's edition has a circus and other rural entertainment shows.
There will be at least Tk20 crore worth of sales at the fair this year, said the upazila administration and the organisers.
Local UNO Raonok Jahan said that they have provided tight security at the event to avoid any untoward incident. The UNO also said that the fair is being closely monitored.
A fish trader named Anwarul Haque supplies fish to the fair every year. He has brought 70 trucks full of fish to the event this year.
"According to my estimate, this year's fair will have Tk12 crore sale of fish alone," he said.
Meantime, Biplab, a fisherman, brought a giant river catfish weighing around 72 kilogram. He was charging Tk1,800 per kilogram of the fish.
"I brought a 100kg fish last year, and sold it for Tk2,000 per kilogram," said Biplab.
The fair showcases nearly all local fish varieties, thanks to fishermen like him.
Meanwhile, Abdul Latif came to the fair with a 10-kilogram block of sweets which looks like a fish. He was asking Tk3000 for the piece, and said he sold a similar sweet last year for Tk3,200.
"I came prepared to the fair with 200kg of sweets. And the arrangements look so good that not a single sweet will go unsold," Latif looked satisfied.
He said that as much as 8,000 kilograms of sweets arrived at the fair this year.
Ornaments for women flooded many stalls on the fairground aiming at Jamai-Bou Mela on Thursday.
"The whole area gets a festive look during the fair. Relatives, especially sons-in-law, visit their in-laws," said Meer Mosarraf Hossen, a local school teacher.
"Local people come to the fair to buy furniture as well as fish and sweet items," he added.
Sajedur Rahman and his family went to his in-law's place. He said he would stay there for the three days of the fair.
He went to the fair on Wednesday, bought a giant fish, and some meat and sweets for his relatives.
"People buy gifts for brides and grooms at this fair," he chuckled.