Dhaka: The nation welcomed the Bangla New Year 1423 today with its traditional fanfare and festivity.
Shedding the previous year’s dejections to extinction, and despite various restrictions prompted by last year’s women assault on Dhaka University campus, people from all walks of life celebrated the Pahela Baishakh, the biggest and most colourful festival to mark the first day of the Bangla year.
The festivity in Dhaka began after sunrise with the gathering of thousands of people under the banyan tree at Ramna Udyan where artistes of cultural organisation Chhayanaut sang the traditional Pahela Baishakh song of Rabindranath Tagore — ‘Esho hey Baishakh’ — to welcome the day.
Tight security measures were taken in and around the park.
True to their centuries’ old tradition, people are thronging different popular and historic spots in the capital and elsewhere across the country to welcome the Bangla New Year, 1423 with new hopes and aspirations for a better, peaceful year.
The celebrations of Pahela Baishakh have become an integral part of Bangalees since it began over six centuries back.
Mughal Emperor Akbar introduced the Bangla calendar in the 1556 of the Gregorian calendar in a bid to streamline the timing of land tax collection in the then ‘Subah Bangla’ region, the much of which falls under Bangladesh.
The day is a public holiday.
On the occasion, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina greeted country’s people and all Bangla-speaking people across the globe.
Traders and shopkeepers across the country open ‘Halkhata’ (new book of accounts) and entertain customers and visitors with sweets on the first day of the New Year as part of the tradition and culture.
On every return of Pahela Baishakh, also the country’s biggest cultural festival, people of all walks of life, especially the youths, come out on the roads at daybreak wearing traditional dresses to celebrate the day.
Students of the Institute of Fine Arts of Dhaka University has taken out a ‘Mongol Shuvajatra (procession of good wishes)’ in the morning as part of the carnival.
Newsbd71/mm/ 14 Apr , 2016