Pohela Boishakh or Bengali New Year marks the first day of the Bengali calendar. The date is the 14th of April. The traditional greeting for Bengali New Year is শুভ নববর্ষ “Shubho Noboborsho” meaning Happy New Year.

Traditions

The day is marked with singing, dancing, processions and fairs. Pomp and ceremony know no bounds. Businesses start their new financial year on this date also. It is a national holiday, all over the country there are festivals and singers performing traditional songs, to ring in the New Year.

Classical Jatra plays are performed in theaters across the country. Friends and family get together and the host will prepare some signature dishes. In Dhaka and some of the other main cities, the festival begins with people coming together under a big tree. The sunrise is an important symbol for the dawn of a new year. People try to find the bank of a river or a lake to view the sun coming up.

Traditional songs

One of the well-known songs is “Esho, he Boishakh”

Songs like this one by Rabindranath Tagore are commonly sung on the day. Artists often present new songs to celebrate the occasion.

Traditional dress

People from all over adorn classic Bengali dress. Women wear saris with their hair decorated with flowers. Men traditionally wear panjabis.

Celebrations in Dhaka

Usually on Pohela Boishakh the home is scrubbed and cleaned, people bathe early in the morning and dress in fine clothes for the day. The most colorful New Year’s Day festivals take place in Dhaka. Large numbers gather under the banyan tree at Ramna Park. This is a place where Chhayanat artists sing Rabindranath Tagore’s famous anthem.

Institute of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka

Students and teachers perform a colorful procession and parade around the campus. Social and cultural organizations celebrate the day with cultural programs. Newspapers bring out special supplements. As the day is not religious in its originals and is about celebrating the rural roots of the Bengali, it is a good opportunity to bring people together.

Security checks

Dhaka will be on high alert following the spate of terrorist attacks in the recent past. Thirty three thousand personnel of RAB, Police, BGB, Coast Guard and other law enforcement agencies will ensure safety at the event. Additional security check posts and CCTV coverage will be implemented.

Nouka Baich

One of the most traditional forms of entertainment for Bangladeshis is the boat race. There are no rules about how long the boat can be or how many people can be on it. This fact alones ensure a spectacle on the day. Every boat has a cheerleader or coach, who doesn’t row at all but sings motivational songs to keep the troops going. This can be enjoyed on New Year’s Day at Dhanmondi Lake.

Boishakhi Mela

This traditional event on the Bengali New Year is a street festival with a live concert. The Dhanmondi Club field is a good place to watch thousands of people gather.

What’s more:

It’s usually all free. The main attraction is usually a live concert.

শুভ নববর্ষ | Shubho Noboborsho

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