This year all programs have been cancelled due to the new Covid upsurge
The nation is celebrating Pohela Boishakh, the first day of Bangla New Year 1428, on Wednesday virtually as the government has enforced a weeklong stricter restriction to stem the alarming spread of Covid-19.
Pohela Boishakh is one of the most colourful and biggest festivals through which the Bengalis 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 wear white sarees with red borders and adorn themselves with bangles, flowers, and tips, while men wear white pyjamas and panjabi or kurta.
The city people usually start 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, are generally illuminated with colourful lights and graffiti painted on the walls signifying the arts, culture, and heritage of the country.
But this year all programs have been cancelled as the second wave of the global pandemic Covid-19 has exposed the country into a worsening state infecting more people and calming more lives compared to the first wave.
Though the Dhaka University (DU) Fine Arts Faculty has completed all preparations for the main attraction of the Bangla New Year- Mongol Shobhajatra like the previous years, but the traditional colorful procession will not be brought out this year.
Only 100 people would join a symbolic Mongol Shobhajatra on the faculty premises on Wednesday.
Besides, following the government directives, the Pahela Baishakh will be celebrated through virtual media.
The state-run Bangladesh Television (BTV) will broadcast the New Year program.
The program of the day usually begins in the city with the musical soiree of Chhayanat, a leading cultural organization of the country, at Ramna Batamul at dawn, but this year recorded traditional songs of the organization and its President Sanjida Khatun’s recorded message “Kathan,” and dance performances of leading artistes will also be aired on televisions.
Business communities, especially in the rural areas, generally open their traditional “Halkhata,” new account books on that day while traders also offer sweets to customers.
The day is a public holiday.
Different national dailies will publish colourful supplements highlighting the significance of Pohela Boishakh.
Some historians attribute the Bengali calendar to the seventh-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).Non-govt teachers & employees’ Baishaki allowance transferred
Non-govt teachers, employees’ Boishakhi allowance transferred
The Boishakhi allowance for teachers and employees of the non-government schools and colleges has been transferred to the head offices of the Agrani and Rupali Bank and local offices of Janata and Sonali Bank.
The teachers and employees can withdraw their allowances from the concerned branches of the banks till April 18.
President, PM greet countrymen
President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday called upon the countrymen to celebrate Pohela Boishakh in a digital method staying at their respective homes in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
They issued separate messages greeting the countrymen on the occasion of Pohela Boishakh, the first day of the Bangla New Year 1428, to be celebrated on Wednesday.
President Abdul Hamid, in his message, said Pohela Boishakh is a jovial and bright day for a massive get-together of the Bangalis.
“The use of the Bangla calendar is interconnected with our social and familial life including art, literature, culture, agriculture, business and festivals,” he said.
So, the president said, the appeal of the Bangla New Year is eternal and universal in the life of the Bangali nation.
He said this year, the nation is going to celebrate the day at a time when the entire world is facing havoc of the novel coronavirus outbreak as hundreds of people are dying and being infected by the virus every day and Bangladesh is also a victim of this viral infection.
“Now it is our biggest responsibility to save the country and its people from the clutch of coronavirus. So, it is a must to follow health guidelines and ensure social distancing in a proper manner,” he said.
He said the government has already taken different steps. “So, let us face the situation with consciousness without being panicked,” he added.
In her message, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the Bangla New Year and Bangali nationalism are interconnected.
The Bangali nation, irrespective of castes, creeds and religions, traditionally bears the New Year festival as one of the major components of their lifestyle and culture, she said.
Terming this year very significant in national life, the prime minister said that the Bangali nation is celebrating the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the golden jubilee of the independence of Bangladesh this year.
“Following this, next year we will celebrate the diamond jubilee of the great language movement,” she continued.
She also added that the achievements and progress of Bangali nation cannot be suppressed because the contribution of the Bangali heroes will be remembered and highlighted forever.
The essence of Bangabandhu’s way of life is rooted in ethnic development and progressive prosperity, she said, adding that in that ideology, his common or uniform consciousness has worked for the independence of Bangladesh and the reconstruction of the country.
She hoped that this year’s Boishakh will be a great inspiration for the nation to fight against militancy, fundamentalism, extremism and anti-liberation forces and to build a society free of hunger and poverty and a golden Bangladesh as dreamt by Bangabandhu.
Today, Mongol Shobhajatra, a procession brought out on the first day of the Bangla New Year, has taken a place in the list of Unesco’s cultural heritage, she said.
She said the present world is facing the disaster of the coronavirus outbreak, adding that “Under the circumstances, I urge all to celebrate the Bangla New Year staying at homes to avoid public gatherings.”
She urged the people to face the coronavirus situation concertedly.