Pahela Baishakh celebrations take place today across Bangladesh, West Bengal and other areas that are home to Bengali-speaking people to usher in the Bangla year 1419.
Such celebrations are taking place in other metropolitan cities and district towns with people, in colourful dresses, visiting fairs, attending folk performances and wishing each other well-being.
Chhayanaut rings in the year with a session of songs of Rabindranath
Tagore at Ramna Batamul in Ramna Park, the main celebration venue in the capital, with thousands of people joining in since dawn amid heightened security. The organisation has been holding the programme since 1965.
Mangal shobhajatra, a procession seeking well-being of all, is set off from the fine arts faculty in Dhaka University in the morning, traversing along the campus roads with floats
Other celebration venues in Dhaka University and neighbouring areas are the Teacher-Student Centre, Natmandal, Suhrawardy Udyan, Shishu Academy, and Central Shaheed Minar. Celebrations also take place in Rabindra Sarobar and some other places in the capital.
People eat panta bhat (rice soaked in water) with fried hilsa, lentil soup and smoked chilli at places of Pahela Baishakh congregations.
The Bangla year with its first month Baishakh was introduced during the rule of Mughal Emperor Akbar.
Traders in rural areas and in small towns open new ledgers, called hal khata, settling the accounts of the year gone by. Residents of the Chittagong Hill Tracts started their New Year’s celebrations of Baisuk, Sangrai and Biju, collectively called Baisabi.
Pahela Baishakh is a public holiday in Bangladesh.
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.
Security has been heightened at venues of Pahela Baishakh celebrations. The road stretches made off-limits for the celebrations in Dhaka are from Shahbagh to Matsya Bhaban and from the Teacher-Student Centre to Doyel Square in Dhaka University.
A ten-day baishakhi mela (fair) begins in the city today. The Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation and the Bangla Academy are holding the fair on the academy premises.
Mobile operator Airtel and Bangla daily newspaper Prothom Alo has taken an initiative to draw the world’s largest floral design on Manik Mia avenue in the capital on the occasion of Pahela Baishakh.
-With New Age input