The New Year comes again for the people of the ethnic communities living in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Now is the time only for enjoyment, bidding farewell to the old and sad songs and welcoming the very lucid tunes of optimism.
'Boisabi' is a traditional and cultural festival of the hill people, who live with their lively ethnicity and heritage of the country.
The very word is the amalgamation into a Bangla acronym of the words for the festival namely Boishu of the Tripuras, Sangrai of the Marmas, Sankran of the Mros, Sangran of the Kyangs, Sankrai of the Khumis, Bizu of the Chakmas and Bishu of the Tanchangyas.
The indigenous people are now busy with shopping for traditional clothes and food, cleaning their houses, and inviting relatives and friends from the hills and elsewhere to their largest festival of the year.
On the occasion, Khudra Nrigoshthi Sangskritik Institute in Bandarban has organised a four-day programme at the district headquarters that will begin at 7:00am today with the marching of Mongol Shobhajatra and holding of an art competition and elderly puja.
On the New Year's day a religious procession will march through the town with the statue of Lord Buddha. After that the statue will be taken to the Sangu river, locally known as Shankha, to arrange bath of the statue.
Pitha Utsab (preparing traditional cakes) will take place at night at Madhyam Para and Ujanipara in the town.
On the last two days, a cultural programme featuring 'Maitree Pani Barshan' or showering each other with water will be held at Puraton Razar Math at 4:00pm.
At the function, indigenous young women and men will sprinkle each other with water that symbolises cleansing themselves of the weariness of the past year.
People of the Mro community in Bandarban are also prepared to celebrate their traditional 'Sankran Poi' festival in Chimbuk Bagan Para area where thousands of people will gather on the occasion.
The Tanchangya and Chakma community will also arrange their traditional 'Ghila Khela' programme to welcome the New Year.
The Chakma, Marma and Tripura communities will also organise 'Elderly Puja' as a mark of respect to the elders by giving bath and new clothes to them.
For the Chakmas, the first day of the festival is called 'Fulbiju', the second day is 'Mulbiju' and third day or Pahela Baishakh is called 'Gojjya Pojjya Din'.
On 'Fulbiju', the Chakmas get up early in the morning, clean their houses and decorate those with flowers.
They also take shower and float flowers in the rivers, canals and springs to seek divine blessings of the God for peace and prosperity.
On 'Mulbiju', the Chakmas cook special traditional food called Pachon.
The Tripuras also celebrate 'Boishu' for three days -- 'Harboishu', 'Bishuma' and 'Bisikatal'.
On the first day they show respect to the birds, animals and insects of the universe to please their mythical god Goraiya.
Young girls scatter rice on their yard to feed birds and domestic animals and decorate their houses with flowers to welcome their guests. They also go to the river to float flowers. They believe if they can please god Goraiya, the earth will be a suitable place for living.
On Bishuma, the second day of the Boisabi festival for the Tripuras,they bid farewell to the year. It is a day of self-sacrifice and self-restraint for them.
The Tripuras also cook Pachon with maximum 108 ingredients of local vegetables including broad or green beans, shimul flower, tara fig flower, banana flower, banana plant's pith, sajna (drumsticks), sajna flower, wild arum, cassava, tender cane vine, radish, and pumpkin, among others.
Traditionally, Boisabi is a cultural and religious festival of the indigenous people living in the hills but is also enjoyed and attended by a host of Bangalees as well.