Pahela Baishakh, the first day of Bangla calendar, will be celebrated across the country on Saturday amid festivity and gaiety.
True to their centuries’ old tradition, people from all walks of life will throng different popular and historic spots at dawn in the capital and elsewhere to hail the New Year 1425 with new hopes and aspirations for a better, peaceful year.
The celebrations of Pahela Baishakh have become an integral part of Bangalees since it began over six centuries back.
Mughal Emperor Akbar introduced the Bangla calendar in 1556 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.
The day is a public holiday.
On the occasion, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages conveying their New Year’s greetings to the people of the country and all Bengla-speaking people across the world.
Traders and shopkeepers across the country will open ‘Halkhata’ (new book of accounts) and entertain customers and visitors with sweets on the first day of the New Year as part of the tradition and culture.
On every return of Pahela Baishak, also the country’s biggest cultural festival, people from all walks of life, especially the youths, come out on the roads at daybreak wearing traditional dresses to celebrate the day.
Thousands of people will flock to traditional venues at different parts of the capital, including Ramna Park, Suhrawardy Udyan, Central Shaheed Minar, Dhaka University, Shahbagh and Dhanmondi Lake, to welcome the New Year amid pageantry.
The most colourful celebration of the Bangla New Year begins at the Ramna Batamul at dawn with an elaborate programme undertaken by Chhayanaut, a leading cultural troupe.
Artistes from Chhayanaut will welcome the day with Tagore’s famous song ‘Esho hey Baishakh, esho, esho (come O Baishakh, come)’ under the banyan tree at the Ramna Park.
Students of the Institute of Fine Arts of Dhaka University will take out a ‘Mangal Shobhajatra’ (procession of good wishes) in the morning as part of the carnival.
However, no one can wear mask during the procession which will be cordoned off by police for the sake of security.
Men wearing panjabi-pyjama, women attired in saris with red borders and children in colourful dresses all will throng traditional Baishakhi Mela (fair) and other cultural functions in the city and elsewhere across the country.
People will partake of ‘Panta Bhat (watery rice)’ with fried hilsa, lentils, green chili and onions at home, restaurants and fairs following the rich tradition of Bangla culture.
State-owned Bangladesh Television (BTV) and Bangladesh Betar and the private TV channels will air special programmes on the day.
Different socio-cultural organisations have chalked out elaborate programmes to celebrate the day.
Bangla Academy, Shilpakala Academy and Nazrul Institute will organise separate cultural programmes to welcome the New Year.
Meanwhile, extensive security measures have been taken in the city and elsewhere across the country for smooth celebrations of the day.
No programme will be allowed at open places after 5 pm while the authorities of Rabindra Sarobar have been asked to end their programme by 7 pm.
Several watchtowers have been set up while adequate searchlights arranged in Ramna Batamul area.
Besides, a number of mobile courts will be deployed in Ramna and Dhaka University areas to avoid any act of sabotage.