Ceiling fans. Window fans. Rotating floor fans. The weather is heating up in Bangladesh. Whether the electricity is on or not, we plan to stay cool. So we’re pulling out our hand-fans.
The team at Heart House Handicrafts makes and sells exquisite, embroidered hand-fans. Bamboo-workers cut and sand the frame and handle. Seamstresses stretch cloth across frame and sew on colorful ruffles. Embroiderers add Bangladeshi flower-designs, cheery elephants, or pictures of traditional wedding activities. As the days become warmer, many guests of MCH patients stop in Heart-House’s showroom to purchase a fan for their family or friends. Others add a Heart-House fan to their gifts for neighborhood weddings.
Interestingly, these traditional hand-fans show important aspects of Bengali culture. Western culture emphasizes autonomy, so their hand-fans cool themselves alone. However Bengali culture delights in relationships; their hand-fans spin on a thin bamboo stick and cool everyone in the room. Bangladesh is a land of hospitality, so when your family visits a neighbor or friend, he’ll spin his hand-fan above you as you converse. Bangladeshis love beauty, so even a simple, functional hand-fan is lavished with colorful handiwork.
Now that’s cool!