Bangalees hailed Pahela Baishakh, the first day of the Bangla year 1425, on Saturday amidst vibrant pageantry, leaving behind the gloom of the past and pledging to uphold the nation's opulent cultural heritage.
Tens of thousands of people from all walks of life, in traditional attire, poured into the streets, parks and open spaces across the capital and elsewhere in the country from early morning to welcome the Naboborsho. Hundreds of thousands of Bangalees living across the world also ushered in the Bangla New Year to revisit the glorious culture. Like previous years, prominent cultural organisations and educational institutions kept the verve of Pahela Baishakh celebrations in the capital.
Chhayanaut, one of the leading cultural organisations of the country, set off their Barshoboron programme at Ramna Botomul with a flute recital by noted flautist Murtaza Kabir Murad set to Raga Aahir Bhairav.
Artistes of Chhayanaut presented solo and group renditions and recitations at the event. Apart from renditions of morning raga-based songs of Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam and DL Roy, several folk numbers were also rendered on the occasion.
Among the soloists, noted Tagore singer Laisa Ahmed Lisa performed “Jol Bole Chol” while renowned Nazrul singer Khairul Anam Shakil rendered “Jago Arun Bhairab”. Promising singers Mahmudul Hasan and Susmita Debnath Suchi presented “Ganga Sindhu Narmada” and “Aji Gao Mahageet” respectively at the programme. Noted elocutionist Hasan Arif recited a Humayun Azad poem “Shubhechchha” while Shameema Nazneen presented a Nirmalendu Goon composition “Prithibijora Gaan” at the event.
In her speech, Chhayanaut president Dr. Sanjida Khatun emphasised on returning to the roots where our identity is deeply embedded. She urged all to indulge in the natural grace of Bangladesh and to take the sublime achievement and essence of world music, literature, art, philosophy and science in the reality of globalisation. She also urged all to take the path of truth and beauty to ennoble our souls and become good human beings.
Another major attraction of Pahela Baishakh was Mangal Shobhajatra, a massive parade attended by thousands of citizens. The colourful procession was brought out by artists of the Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka (DU). Vice Chancellor of DU Professor Akhtaruzzaman with DU teachers, Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor and cultural personalities led the procession. Diverse folk themed designs that speak of our rich culture and folklore featured in this year's Mangal Shobhajatra, themed on “Manush Bhojle Sonar Manush Hobi”.
Large structures of the sun, water buffalo, tepa putul, birds, elephant, heron with fish, together with a number of flamboyant masks were displayed at the vibrant procession to augment the visual delight of Mangal Shobhajatra. People danced along to the beats of dhol and other musical instruments.
There were scores of cultural shows arranged by different organisations, keeping the Dhaka University area alive with heavy rush of people. It was a day of untainted fun and merriment.
Artistes of Wrishij Shilpi Goshthi welcomed the Bangla New Year with performance of music, dance and recitation by noted and promising artistes. The event was held at Narkel Bithi Chattar near Shishu Park.
A festive spirit took over the capital and other parts of the country. Women in saris and men in panjabi -- decorated with Baishakhi motifs -- ushered in the New Year. Many had panta bhat with fried hilsa, daal, green chilli and onion at home, restaurants and fairs. Youngsters had their cheeks painted with folk-themed emblems that added further colours to the celebration.
The festivities stretched over to Suhrawardy Udyan, Dhaka University and Dhanmondi Lake areas, bringing the city traffic system to a standstill. Many foreigners clad in traditional Bengali clothes were also seen enjoying in and around the venues of celebration.
The crowd dispersed in the afternoon when the maiden nor'westers of the season followed a heavy shower.