Magar in Bangladesh

Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2023
Kerry Olson  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Magar
Country: Bangladesh
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 2,400
World Population: 2,606,200
Primary Language: Bengali
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Hindu - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Magar people are one of the oldest known tribes. However, their origin is unclear. Most likely they are of Tibetan descent because their language and dances are similar to those within Tibetan cultures.
There are two major groups of Magar (the Eastern and Western) and which are further divided into a number of clans. The Magar language, which is divided into four groups, gives the people a distinct tribal identity. This linguistic classification is important in understanding the Magar tribes.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Most Magar are craftsmen, although some who own their land have become farmers. Others work as miners, blacksmiths or basket weavers. They tend to be hard-working, honest, self-reliant, and self-sufficient people. They are very jovial and love to sing and dance. They have several kinds of dances as well as tribal games that they frequently play.
Magar people typically live in large, two-story stone houses with slate or thatch roofs. The homes are often constructed with large porches in front.
Magar people have a unique style of dress. Most often, they wear loin cloths and bhotos (shirts with sleeves), or shirts and coats. They often adorn themselves with fulis (flower-like ear ornaments) in the middle parts of their ears and necklaces made of glass beads and silver Indian coins. Some aspects of western style clothing are slowly becoming more common.
Magar marriages are uniquely arranged. The groom's brother-in-law must go to the bride's family and offer a "bride price" of money and alcohol. If the proposal is accepted, they make further payments. Marriages to maternal first cousins are the most common arrangements.
The most distinctive element in the Magar family kinship is the strong bond between maternal uncles and their nephews. They treat one other with respect because when the nephew is ready to marry, his bride will be chosen from among his uncle's daughters.
"Life cycle rituals" are an important part of Magar society. They hold a special birth ceremony eleven days after a child is born. The baby is named and then washed for the first time. In May or June at the time of the full moon they observe the Jyestha Poornima festival. During the ceremony, they offer freshly harvested grains to the gods.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The majority of Magar people practice ethnic religions, while the minority are practicing Hindus. Like other Magar groups, Hinduism has greatly influenced the Magar families and leaders. Many now worship the three major Hindu gods: Brahma (creator of the universe), Vishnu (protector and preserver of the worlds), and Shiva (the destroyer), as well as a host of other deities.

What Are Their Needs?

Intercession is the key to breaking down the spiritual strongholds over the Magar people and seeing them reached with the light of Christ.

Prayer Points

Pray that the Lord of the harvest will thrust forth laborers into Bangladesh.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will open the hearts of governmental leaders in Bangladesh to the gospel.
Ask Almighty God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
Pray for the Lord Jesus to reveal His gospel to families and clans that will result in church planting movements that will influence people and government.

Text Source:   Joshua Project