Photo: Anisur Rahman
Pahela Baishakh, the Bengali New Year, was introduced by Emperor Akbar in 1556 in a bid to collect taxes from the people. Now Pahela Baishakh is the biggest cultural event in Bangladesh. Tourists of different countries come here to celebrate the colourful event along with the Bangladeshis. Wearing traditional dresses like Lungi-Panjabi and Saree, people join the Mongol Shovajatra and eat Panta- Elish -- our traditional food. Riding Nagordola, singing folk songs, and dancing to the tunes of our traditional songs are the mentionable activities of the day.
Rural people celebrate Pahela Baishakh with the opening of a new Halkhata (account book). But unfortunately, the tradition of initiating “Halkhata” is getting lost with the passage of time. If we can revive the culture of opening Halkhata as a major event in Pahela Baishakh, we hope it would attract a large number of foreign tourists also.