Millions of people were cramming themselves aboard trains on Bangladesh's huge rail network yesterday, desperate to make it home in time for the Eid holiday.
With most boats and trains full to overflowing, there were serious safety fears. These were realised in at least one spot where a man was killed after falling under a train.
Horrified onlookers, including several children, crowded around the victim's remains, which were scattered in at least two places along the tracks near Airport Railway Station in Dhaka, the capital.
But the tragedy did not seem to scare anyone off their perilous journeys, with most passengers perched atop speeding railway carriages taking them from work in the cities to rural hometowns.
With nearly Muslims comprising 90 per cent of Bangladesh's 160million people and a population density higher than the tiny island of Jersey, the scale of the exodus is beyond biblical.
Eid al-Adha, Islam's 'Festival of the sacrifice', commemorates's Abraham's willingness to kill his own son in submission to God's command. It begins tonight and lasts for four days.
Industry officials told the AFP news agency at least ten million cows and goats are expected to be slaughtered during the festival. But experts fear many have been fattened with cancer-causing steroids in a bid to cash in on the surging demand for meat.
'In our estimate some 20 per cent of the cattle to be sold during Eid are being fattened with banned steroids such as dexamethasone,' said Muzaffar Hossain, a professor of animal science at the Bangladesh Agriculture University.
Cows fattened with such steroids can help farmers earn an extra $400-$1,000 per animal but can cause serious health problems for consumers, he said.
'As a result, the use of steroids and other harmful drugs has become rampant all over the country,' he told AFP.