People celebrated Pahela Baishakh, the Bangla New Year, ushering in 1419 with much fanfare amid hopes and expectations on Saturday.
Celebrations took place in metropolitan cities and district towns with people, in colourful dresses, visiting fairs, attending folk performances and wishing each other
well-being, amid tight security across the capital and other places.
People ate panta bhat (rice soaked in water) with fried hilsa, lentil soup and smoked chilli at places of Pahela Baishakh congregations.
Traders in rural areas as well as in towns and cities opened new ledgers, called hal khata, settling the accounts of the year gone by.
Celebrations in Dhaka began with Chhayanaut’s cultural programme about 6:15am at Ramna Batamul in the capital, with thousands of people joining in since dawn amid
heightened security. The organisation has been holding the programme since 1965.
Chhayanaut artistes sang raga bhairaba at the beginning and then Tagore’s song Purba Gagan Bhage.
After the programme that ended about 9:15am with the national anthem, Amar Sonar Bangla, people moved to join Mangal shobhajatra, a procession seeking well-being of
all, that was set off from the fine arts faculty in Dhaka University. The procession traversed campus roads with floats.
Theme for the this year celebration was the resolution of maritime boundary dispute with Myanmar. It also rallied support for an early completion of war crimes trial.
A 40-feet float of a boat with a peacock figurehead from the fairytale symbolised the ‘maritime victory’ in the rally.
Two monster-like structures symbolising perpetrators of crimes committed during the war for national independence in 1971 were carried in procession.
Floats such as elephants, horses, tigers and a bird with the appearance of a leaf were also part of the rally.
People from a broad spectrum of society flocked to the venues of celebrations. Most of the women were in white saris with red borders while men were in red and white
fatua or panjabis. Many of the people, however, complained against the deafening sound of the locally produced vuvuzelas played especially by young people.
Vendors sold traditional food items, masks and toys on the road stretch from the Sheraton Hotel to Doyel Square.
Dhaka University campus and its surroundings became festive as a number of programmes were held in different venues.
The Bangla department of the university held a programme in front of the arts faculty building, the music department and Kendriya Khelaghar Asar held a programme at
Bat-tala and the philosophy department held another progrmame at Amtala.
A concert began in the mall, in front of the registrar’s building, about 12:30pm. Another concert were held in the Muhsin Hall ground.
People also gathered to see a floral design several hundred people had drawn on Manik Miah Avenue the night before under an joint initiative of the mobile operator
Airtel the Bangla daily newspaper Prothom Alo to welcome the Bangla year 1419.
Cultural group Wrishij held a musical programme in front of Shishu Park in the morning.
Sammilita Sangiskritik Jote celebrated Pahela Baishakh at Rabindra Sarobor at Dhanmondi.
Surerdhara and Channel I held a programme at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
The Bengal Foundation arranged two-day Bengal Baishakhi Utsab in the Banani playground.
People living in the Chittagong Hill Tracts had their New Year celebrations of Baisuk, Sangrai and Biju, collectively called Baisabi.
The day was a public holiday in Bangladesh. State-owned and private radio and television channels aired special programmes and newspapers brought ou supplements.
The president, Zillur Rahman, the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, and the leader of the opposition in the parliament, Khaleda Zia, issued messages greeting the nation on the occasion.
Bengalis in Pashchi Banga and Tripura in India also celebrated Pahela Baishakh on the day.
New Age correspondents in Barisal, Chittgong, Khulna, Rajshahi and Sylhet and others districts reported that Pahela Baishak was also celebrated in the places with equal fanfare.
Courtesy of New Age