Countrymen celebrating Pahela Baishakh today...

Countrymen celebrating Pahela Baishakh today

 Staff Correspondent

 Published: 10:06 AM, 14 April 2022   Updated: 02:55 PM, 14 April 2022

Pahela Baishakh today; File Photo

Pahela Baishakh today; File Photo

The country has been celebrating Pahela Baishakh, the first day of Bengali New Year-1429, today, Thursday (April 14) upholding the rich cultural values and rituals of the Bangalees.

The Bangla Nabobarsho (Bengali New Year) festival is also being celebrated at its traditional venue Ramna Batamul in the capital for the first time after two years due to the Covid-19 situation.

This year, the first day of the Bangla Calendar, is being celebrated following its all rituals at the venue along with bringing out the traditional Mangal Shovajatra (procession) organized by the Fine Arts Faculty of the Dhaka University (DU).

However, due to the ongoing Holy month of Ramadan, it will be celebrated on a limited scale this year.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Shafiqul Islam has said all public events marking Pahela Baishakh must be ended by 2 pm today due to the month of Ramadan.

“Keeping in mind the Holy month of Ramadan and traffic jams, all activities for this Bengali New Year and the Pahela Baishakh celebrations will have to be completed by 2 pm and none will be allowed to enter Ramna Park after 1 pm,” he said.

Shafiqul made the remarks after inspecting the security arrangements for the Bengali New Year celebrations at Ramna Batamul on Tuesday.

Besides, no food stalls will remain open on this day as Muslim devotees perform fasting during the Holy month of Ramadan.

People are expected to join the “Nabo Barsho” festivities across the country, particularly in the capital city.

Pahela Baishakh is one of the most colorful festivals through which the Bangalees bid farewell to the old year and welcome the New Year.

On this occasion, people from all walks of life wear traditional Bengali dresses.

Young women wear white sarees with red borders and adorn themselves with bangles, flowers, and tips, while men wear white pajamas and Panjabi or kurta.

The government has drawn up elaborate programs. The Mangal Shovajatra has been brought out at divisional, district and upazila levels to reach the traditional program to the grassroots as it has earned the international recognition.

However, business communities, especially in the rural areas, are ready to open their traditional “Halkhata”, new account books. On the day, traders also offer sweets to customers.

President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina are expected to issue separate messages greeting the countrymen on the eve of the Pahela Baishakh.

Different government and non-government organizations, socio-cultural platforms, including Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Bangladesh Shishu Academy, Bangla Academy, Department of Public Libraries, the National Museum, Kabi Nazrul Institute, Copyright Office, National Book Centre, Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC), the Department of Archives and Library and Dhaka University are holding various programs along with seminars, exhibitions and quiz, essay and art compositions to observe the day.

As part of the Bengali New Year celebrations, Baishakhi rallies have been organized in all districts, upazilas and unions of the country.

Besides, the local administration has organized quiz competitions, cultural programs and folk fairs.

Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy has organized a two-day program marking the day.

New Year fairs and cultural programs are being organized by BSCIC on the premises of Bangla Academy and Bangladesh Folk Arts and Crafts Foundation.

The programs of the day usually begin in the capital with the musical soiree of Chhayanat, a leading cultural organization in the country, at Ramna Batamul at dawn.

However, the Chhayanat is asked to wrap up its celebration programs by 11 am while the authority concerned are advised to end the fair activities on Ramna premises by 2 pm so that people could go back to their homes or convenient places to have their iftar of Ramadan month.

Bangladesh Television, Bangladesh Betar and private television channels are broadcasting live programs.

The city dwellers usually start the day with the traditional breakfast of “panta bhat” (soaked rice), green chili, onion and fried fish at Ramna Park, Suhrawardy Uddyan, Dhaka University Campus, Rabindra Sarobor at Dhanmondi and other amusement places.

But, this year, no food stalls remained open on this day as it was not permitted.

Graffiti is being painted on the walls signifying the arts, culture and heritage of the country.

Bengali New Year will be celebrated in all educational institutions under their own management in a festive atmosphere while elite city hotels and clubs are hosting special events and making traditional Bengali food.

On the occasion, all museums and archaeological sites have remained open for all while children, students, people with disabilities and autism are being allowed to visit the museum free of cost.

Improved traditional food will be distributed to jail inmates and patients in hospitals and orphanages on the occasion.

Bangladesh missions abroad will also organize different programs to welcome the New Year.

The law enforcement agencies took extensive security measures across the country so that people could celebrate the day.

The day is a public holiday.

Different national dailies were published colorful supplements while Bangladesh Television, Bangladesh Betar and other private TV and radio channels will air special programs highlighting the significance of Pahela Baishakh.

Some historians attribute the Bengali calendar to the 7th-century king Shashanka, which was later modified by Mughal emperor Akbar for the purpose of tax collection.

During the Mughal rule, land taxes were collected from Bengali people as per the Islamic Hijri calendar. This calendar was a lunar calendar, and its new year did not coincide with the solar agricultural cycles.

Akbar asked the royal astronomer Fathullah Shirazi to create a new calendar by combining the lunar Islamic calendar and solar Hindu calendar already in use, and this was known as Fasholi Shan (harvest calendar).