Only about 30% of the people are urbanized, nearly all of whom live in Dhaka. Life
in the city reflects many of the same cultural aspects the rural life has, but many
differences as well. Here, like in the rural areas, family and community are incredibly
important and truly the center of life. However, the way of life in Dhaka is much
higher paced as many people have jobs in the services or industrial sectors and
hours tend to be fixed. These people tend to have a set work routine and jobs can
be in a huge number of industries, from manufacturing to technical support. For
many of these people the day is dictated by the clock, generally from about 9:00
am to 5:00 pm, not the sun or weather.
Another important factor in the way of life of the Bangladeshis is religion. Although
there are few conservative Muslims in the country, many people are quite devout
and attend mosque every Friday evening (their holy day). The religion also alters
the diet, dating, and even the weekend; in Bangladesh the weekend is Friday and
Saturday as people work from Sunday until Thursday.
While family and community are at the core of the culture and way of life, schooling
is not uniform across the country and for many people education for their children
is not as important as learning farming skills or finding a spouse. Life in Bangladesh
seems to be more about relationships and kindness than education and financial success
and this is quite pronounced throughout the country as priorities are on people,
not jobs, education, or money, although all of these things are important to varying
The people of Bangladesh tend to identify first as
"Bengalis," which is an ethnically-defined term. Only secondly do people
identify with the politically-based definition of being a "Bangladeshi."
The Bengalis include every person who is ethnically and religiously affiliated,
hence numerous people in India are also included in this definition as they are
united by their ethnicity and religion, which is Islam. The term Bangladeshi only
refers to citizens of Bangladesh (no matter their religion or ethnicity) and is
a more recent identity as the nation is still quite young. This term is becoming
a more popular term with each passing year as national pride is growing and people
are becoming less religious, hence preferring to be defined by citizenship instead
of religion; this is especially true among the nation's youth.