Shirni is home made cooked or uncooked sweetmeats for distribution among people to get their blessing to realize an undeclared motive. The word shirni is of Persian origin. With expectations for boons and blessings from the Almighty, Muslims customarily distribute shirni among people on various Islamic festivals. Shirni is offered at places such as mosques, madrasahs, khanqahs, dargahs, and mazars to please Allah and get His protection in situations such as illness or hardship and mishaps. Shirni is sometimes offered as a wish (manat) in the hope the fulfilment of a desire.
Shirni was not practised by Muslims in the early days of Islam. It became a custom after being introduced by pirs in Bengal. It is a popular belief that pirs have special spiritual power and therefore, their khanqahs are to be looked at as resorts for peace in the world. People also offer shirni at khanqahs as a token of respect for spiritual powers. The custom gradually spread and with passage of time, Hindus, Buddhists and, at some places, Muslims began venerating pirs, and with that, shirni became a religious rite in Bangladesh. [Muhammad Abdur Rashid]