Pahela Baishakh, the Bangla New Year’s Day was celebrated on Tuesday amid traditional festivities and fervour acrossBangladesh.
Baishakhi fairs, colourful processions, musical soirees at public places were the highlights of the day’s programmes and festivities. Most families had their own programmes indoors to celebrate the day taking special feasts and wearing special dresses purchased to mark the day.Traditionally Pahela Baishakh marks the start of the new financial year of the business comunity whose members open ‘hal khata’ (new accounts books) giving the past year a good bye, and entertaining their customers paying old dues with sweets and other food.
Baishakhi fairs organised in rural Bangladesh are marked by marketting of useful householf articles, toys, fency food items, kites and handicrafts.
In Dhaka city and other urban centres of the country people from all walks of life thronged different programmes to hail the New Year 1422 and exchange greetings with relatives, friends, near and dear ones.
The day was a closed public holiday. Radio and television stations aired special programmes, newspapers published special articles, features and supplements highlighting the significance of the day. Business organisations, especially the cell phone service operators announced new attractive packages to their customers;
hotels and restaurants arranged special discounts on Baishakhi dishes.
President Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia issued separate messages greeting the country’s people as well as all Bangla-speaking people across the globe on the occasion.
People from all walks of life, especially the youth, came out on the roads at daybreak wearing traditional dresses to celebrate the day.
Thousands of people flocked to traditional venues at different parts of the capital, including RamnaPark, Suhrawardy Udyan, Central Shaheed Minar, DhakaUniversity, Shahbagh and DhanmondiLake areas, to welcome the New Year amid pageantry.
Men wearing panjabi-pyjama, women attired in sari with red borders and children in colourful dresses all thronged traditional Baishakhi Melas (fairs) and other cultural functions in the city and elsewhere in the country all day long.
People took ‘Panta Bhat (watered rice)’ with fried hilsa, lentils, green chilli and onions at home, restaurants and fairs following the rich tradition of Bangla culture.
Different socio-cultural organisations, including BanglaAcademy, ShilpakalaAcademy and Nazrul Institute, celebrated the day with elaborate programmes.
The most colourful celebration of the Bangla New Year began at the Ramna Batamul at dawn with an elaborate programme undertaken by Chhayanaut, a leading cultural troupe.
Artistes from Chhayanaut welcomed the day with Rabindranath Tagore’s famous song ‘Esho hey Baishakh, esho, esho (come O Baishakh, come)’ under the banyan tree at the RamnaPark around 6:15 am.
The theme of this year’s programme was ‘Shanti Manabota o Manusher Odhiker’.
Tight security measures were in place in and around the Ramna Batamul area for ensuring foolproof security.
Students of the Institute of Fine Arts of Dhaka University, wearing colourful masks, brought out a ‘Mangal Shobhajatra (procession of good wishes)’ as part of the festival from the main gate of the institute around 9 am. Several hundred people also joined the procession.
The procession, led by Dhaka University Vice Chancellor Dr AAMS Arefin Siddique, ended at the Institute of Fine Arts after parading Ruposhi Bangla Hotel intersection.
The celebrations of Pahela Baishakh have become an integral part of Bangalees since it began six centuries ago.
Mughal Emperor Akbar introduced the Bangla calendar in the 1556th year of the Gregorian calendar in a bid to streamline the timing of land tax collection in the then ‘Subah Bangla’ region, the much of which falls under Bangladesh.
Bangla-speaking people of West Bengal and other parts of India also celebrate the Pahela Baishakh, but a day later. They will celebrate the Bangla New Year on Wednesday. – News Desk