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14/04/24 | 9:55 am

Bangla New Year ‘Pahela Baishakh’ being celebrated in Bangladesh

By: Navalsang Parmar (Dhaka)

The Bangla New Year  ‘Pahela Baisakh’ is being celebrated in Bangladesh with traditional enthusiasm and fervour. The day began with a grand performance by the cultural group Chhayanaut at the ‘Batmool’, the Banyan root,  at the historic Ramana Park in Dhaka.

Artists of the Chhayanaut cultural group began the performance with Raag Vihag at the crack of dawn in front of hundreds of enthusiastic participants. The programme included classical songs, Rabindra Sangeet and  poetry recitals among others as a continuation of the practice which was started in 1967 to celebrate the new year.

It was followed by another grand event at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Charukala, of Dhaka University where a ‘Mongol Shobhajatra’ was brought out. The procession featured five structures depicting a child, a pangolin, a decorative elephant, a decorative wheel, and a bird and other cultural motifs highlighting the traditional folk culture of Bangladesh. The colourful procession passed through the nearby areas to herald the arrival of the new year.

‘Pahela Baishakh’ symbolises the inclusive and joyful culture of the Bangali people. Cutting across the barriers of religion and community, class and region, gender and age people participated in the celebration all across Bangladesh. Several other programmes are also being organised in Dhaka on this occasion.

The joyful celebration of Pahela Baishakh and Mongol Shobhajatra are, in a way, a befitting slap by the people of the country against the religious bigots and fundamentalists trying to change the inclusive and joyful Bengali culture.

Events centring Pahela Baishakh were held at various points in the capital Dhaka including Ramna Park, Suhrawardy Udyan, Dhaka University, Hatirjheel, and Rabindra Sarobar. Mangal Shobhajatra will also be brought out at divisional, district and upazila levels to reach the traditional programme to the grassroots as it has earned the international recognition. Mongol Shobhajatra has been recognised as ‘intangible cultural heritage of humanity’ by UNESCO in 2016.

Tight security arrangements were made both at the Ramana Park event as well as the Mongol Shobhajatra that started from the Fine Arts faculty of Dhaka University. Earlier, the education department brought out a circular asking all the schools in the country to bring out Mongol Shobhajatra to celebrate the Bangla New Year 1430. President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also sent out messages congratulating people on this occasion. 

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