Bangladesh celebrates Pahela Baishakh

14 Apr 2017, 21:48

Online Desk

Dhaka: The nation celebrated Pahela Baishakh, the first day of Bangla calendar, on Friday amid traditional festivities and enthusiasm, and with a fresh vow to eliminate extremism from Bangladesh.

Different socio-cultural organisations and institutions arranged various programmes to mark the country's biggest cultural festival at the advent of the New Year.

True to their centuries' old tradition, people from all walks of life gathered at different popular and historic spots at dawn in the capital and elsewhere across the country to welcome the Bangla New Year 1424 with new hopes and aspirations.

Mughal Emperor Akbar started the Bangla calendar year in 1556 and the celebrations of Pahela Baishakh began during his rule. Now it has become an integral part of the Bangali's cultural heritage and tradition and turned into a day of merriment.

Men, wearing panjabi-pyjama, women attired in saris with red borders, and children in colourful dresses thronged traditional Baishakhi Melas (fairs) and other cultural functions in the city and other parts of the country.

People took 'Panta Bhat (watery rice)' with fried fish, lentils, green chili and onions at home, restaurants and fairs following the rich tradition of Bangla culture.

The day was a public holiday.

Traders and shopkeepers across the country opened 'Halkhata' (new ledger books) and entertained customers and visitors with sweetmeat on the first day of the New Year as part of the tradition and culture.

Thousands of people, especially the youth wearing traditional dresses, thronged traditional venues at different parts of the capital, including Ramna Park, Suhrawardy Udyan, Central Shaheed Minar, Dhaka University, Shahbagh, Dhanmondi Lake and Hatirjheel, and different spots to celebrate the day.

Meanwhile, an eye-catching amphitheatre and a grand musical dancing fountain, set up at the city's Hatirjheel Lake to attract more visitors and tourists, was opened as Pahela Baishakh gifts for the city dwellers.

The most colourful celebrations of the Bangla New Year began at the Ramna Batamul at dawn with an elaborate programme undertaken by Chhayanaut, a leading cultural troupe, with Tagore's famous song 'Esho hey Baishakh, esho, esho (come O Baishakh, come)' under the banyan tree at the Ramna Park.

The celebrations by the organisation entered 50 years this time.

Students of the Institute of Fine Art of Dhaka University brought out a 'Mangal Shovajatra (procession of good wishes) which got recognition from UNESCO as intangible cultural heritage last year.

The rally, led by Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique, was brought out as the part of the celebration of Pahela Baishakh, the first day of Bangla calendar, at 9:05am.

Students of the Institute of Fine Arts of Dhaka University took out a 'Mongol Shuvajatra (procession of good wishes)', led by DU Vice Chancellor Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique, in the morning as part of the carnival which paraded from Charukala (Fine Arts of DU) to Bangla Motor in the city.

There was a ban on wearing masks, carrying matches, lighters, handbags and vuvuzelas during the procession.

Dhaka University authorities decided to use Bangla mandatory in official activities from this Pahela Baishakh.

Local administrations arranged discussions and fairs in their respective areas to spread the message and recognition of Pahela Baishakh while foreign missions and embassies organised programmes to make it known to others.

State-owned Bangladesh Television (BTV), Bangladesh Betar, NTV and other private TV channels aired special programmes on the day.

Around 11,000 uniformed policemen along with plainclothes ones were deployed for ensuring security during the celebrations though there was no specific security alert.