The country is set to celebrate Pahela Baishakh, the first day of Bengali New Year, on Sunday upholding the rich cultural values and rituals of the Bangalis.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to join the “Nabo Barsho” festivities across the country, particularly in the capital city.Pahela Baishakh is one of the most colourful festivals through which the Bangalis 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 will wear white sarees with red borders and adorn themselves with bangles, flowers, and tips, while men wear white pyjamas and panjabi or kurta.
The government has drawn up an elaborate programme. The traditional Mongol Shovajatra will be brought out at divisional, district and upazila levels to reach the traditional programme 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 will issue separate messages greeting the countrymen on the occasion of Pahela Baishakh.
Different government and non-government organisations, socio-cultural platforms, including Bangladesh Shilpokala 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), Dhaka University, Jatiya Press Club and Dhaka Reporters Unity, have chalked out various programmes to observe the Pahela Baishakh.The programmes of the day will begin in the city with the musical soiree of Chhayanat, a leading cultural organisation of the country at Ramna Batamul at dawn.
Mongol Shovajatra will be brought out from Dhaka University (DU) Fine Arts Faculty premises at 9 am.
Bangladesh Television, Bangladesh Betar and private television channels will live broadcast the programmes.
The city people will start the day with the traditional breakfast of ‘panta bhat’ (soaked rice), green chilly, 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 will be illuminated with colourful lights and graffiti have been painted in the walls signifying the arts, culture and heritage of the country.
A Baishakhi Mela is set to begin at Bangla Academy tomorrow on the occasion of Pahela Baishakh.
On the occasion, all museum and archaeological sites will remain open for all while children, students, people with disabilities and autistics will be allowed to visit the museum at free of cost.
Improved traditional food will be distributed among jail inmates, patients in hospitals and orphanages on the occasion.
Bangladesh missions abroad will also organise different programmes to welcome the new year.
The day is a public holiday.
Different national dailies will publish colourful supplements while Bangladesh Television, Bangladesh Betar and other private TV channels will air special programmes 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 according to 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).