The nation today celebrated Pahela Baishakh, the first day of Bengali New Year 1426, with different organizations putting up various programmes keeping up with in the vein of rich Bengali cultural heritage based on ritual rhythms of rural life for renewing a pledge to build a prosperous Bangladesh.
The day broke with the chirping of birds as usual, but the singing of “Esho hey Baishakh esho esho” echoed everywhere in Bangladesh to give the day a really festive dimension.
All across the country with people from all walks of life throng different popular and historic spots in the capital and elsewhere to welcome the Bangla New Year 1426 with new hopes and aspirations for a better, peaceful year.
The programmes of the day began at dawn in the city with the musical soiree of Chayanat, a leading cultural organization of the country at Ramna Batamul, where over 100 of singers performed to welcome Bangla new year leaving behind all odds and sorrows of old year.
Students of Faculty of Fine Arts of Dhaka University (DU) brought out Mangol Shobahajatra (procession of good wishes)’ around about 9am in the capital.
Mangol Shobhajatra is a pride for the Bangalee Nation as the traditional procession on Pahela Baishakh has got the recognition of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)’s as the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
On this occasion, people from all walks of life wore traditional Bengali dresses. Young women wore white sarees with red borders and adorned themselves with bangles, flowers while men wore white pyjamas and panjabi or kurta.
On the occasion of Pahele Baishakh, the government organized various programmes. The traditional Mangol Shovajatras were brought out at divisional, district and upazila levels as it has earned the international recognition.
However, business communities, especially in the rural areas, opened their traditional ‘Halkhata’, new account books, while sweets were distributed among customers to mark the day.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages of greeting on the occasion of Pahela Baishakh.
In separate messages, they wished peace, happiness and prosperity of the people and the country in the New Year.
The day was declared as a public holiday.
Different national dailies published colourful supplements while Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Betar aired special programmes highlighting the significance of Pahela Baishakh.
Different government and non-government organizations, socio-cultural platforms including Bangla Academy, Bangladesh Folk Arts and Craft Foundation, Dhaka University, Jatiya Press Club and Dhaka Reporters Unity have organized out various programmes to observe the Pahela Baishakh.
The city people began the day with the traditional breakfast of ‘panta bhat’ (soaked rice), green chilli, onion and fried fish at Ramna Park, Suhrawardy Uddyan, Dhaka University Campus, Rabindra Sarobor at Dhanmondi and other amusement places.
Important buildings and establishments as well as city streets and islands were illuminated with colourful lights and graffiti have been painted in the walls signifying the arts, culture and heritage of the country.
A ten-day Baishakhi Mela began at Bangla Academy in the city on April 14 on the occasion of Pahela Baishakh.
Ramna Park and Suhrawardi Udyan areas have been taken under complete CCTV surveillance while Police in uniform and in undercover were deployed in and around the function arenas including Ramna Park. Visitors entered the venue through archways and metal detector checking, witnesses said.
According to historical records, celebrations of Pahela Baishakh, started from Emperor Akbar’s reign when it was customary to clear all dues on the last day of the Bengali month of Chaitra with businessmen opening “halkhata” or new book of accounts in their shops.