Hiren Pandit: Pahela Baisakh or Nabarbasha means ushering in the new year. This has been happening since ancient times. Similarly, the first Boishakh New Year of the Bengali nation. This is our new year. It is embedded in our blood and consciousness. Because for us January 1 means the new year! Today we bring the culture of others into our culture. Our year is Bengali, our month is Bengali but we follow English. If many people are asked, what is the date of the Bengali year today? We don’t remember the date and the name of the year. Therefore, Pahela Boishakh brings joy and love to Bengalis, removing all the wear and tear of the whole year. Pahela Boishakh is a bridging of civic life with people. Be it busy city life or rural life, this New Year unites the Bengali nation in a sense of nationhood. The Pahela Boishakh event becomes a meeting of roots for every Bengali. The Bengali nation rises above all the identities of religion and caste and welcomes this New Year.
Since Pahela Boishakh is the first day of the Bengali month, there is a frenzy of eating and drinking around this day. Every house in town and village has a good or bad, more or less cooking, which everyone observes as a pala-parban or a festival day. Sweets are the main attraction of any Bengali festival, in fact, no Bengali festival or event is complete or complete without sweets and along with fish, fish. Panta hilsa and many other things have taken place in the list of celebrations this Pahela Boishakh. Various types of meat and fish are cooked on this day.
Among the fish, the main attraction is the hilsa fish and the fish traders increase the price of all kinds of fish, especially the hilsa fish, based on this day in the market. A few days before Pahela Boishakh, the price of this fish increased. But everyone tries to buy as much as possible and along with yogurt is sweet. Village fairs turn into festivals. The color of this festival has repeatedly pushed the Bengali nation forward to build a non-communal state. The people of this country are always sincere, genuine and pioneering to welcome the new year. Many rituals are organized by people of all professions around the year of long preparations. We find different art of drawing of folk practical paper through this painting. The artist dreams of the future in their colorful paintings. The generation of the Bengali nation developed its own culture. Many cultural organizations in the country, including Dhaka University, organized the Mangal Shobhajatra (Procession for Virtuous). This procession started in 1989 as a strong protest against all bad culture and irregularities. In 2016, the United Nations body UNESCO included this procession in the list of the important cultural heritage of the world. Which was a huge achievement for Bengali culture.
Apart from this, music, dance, or recitation are held in every region of the country including Ramna Batamul. Each of these arts reminds us of our roots. Welcome the new year of your identity. This New Year’s festival is a universal and non-communal spirit program for men and women, people from all walks of life, rich and poor. The freedom to join the festival is also equal for everyone. When a nation is strong in its own culture, it cannot be swallowed by any bad culture or bad reform. Therefore, the arts that have climbed up the ladder of their own culture need regular practice. We have to take a position under the shadow of our own culture to protect and spread our own culture. We will also be familiar with other cultures, but our individuality should not be covered behind it. As Bengalis, it is also important for us to have a responsibility toward our own culture.
Pahela Boishakh, the first day of Bengali New Year, true history, the festival day of Bengali life, and address of our roots. Pahela Boishakh means ‘Eso hey Boisakh, Eso hey Boishakh,’. Pahela Boishakh, the first day of the Bengali year, comes around every year with that familiar song. This song, written by poet Rabindranath Tagore, makes the first day of the Bengali year even more beautiful. This Pahela Boishakh erases all the calculations. The first day of the year in Dhaka begins with a cultural program organized by Ramana Botomul Chayanot. This Boishakh celebration starts all over the country with its own rules or style. Every year the procession comes out from the Fine Arts Institute of Dhaka. Throughout the day, there is a festive atmosphere everywhere, with fairs and small festivals in many places. This festival is not only limited to Dhaka, various fairs, jatras and music events are also organized in the rural areas. Various postures while sitting. Various sweets, batasa, murki, nimki, etc. Nagordola, Bioscope and many other fun games. In the village, football games and boating are also included. This type of Boishakhi fair lasts for a whole month, along with various Boishakhi events.
Pala Parban of village Bengal is very different from Pala Parban of city. Boishakhi celebrations in the city are again a little different. Chaitra Sankranti is organized on the eve of Pahela Boishakh in Dhaka city, where after the evening various events are held in the art gallery. Dance, song, recitation and much more. Alpana was also painted on Manik Mia Avenue in front of the Parliament building overnight. The background of Boishakh is depicted in Alpana. Many people flock there to see the Alpana painting. Sometimes it is organized all over the country. All the divisions of the whole of Bangladesh draw together and on the same day. Which is a proud and lovable aspect of Bangladesh.
There is an interest in buying new clothes, especially on this day. There are some main colors in the dress, red-white or just red or just white is the first choice. This was a custom earlier too but nowadays it has become a fashion. On this day most boys and girls, men and women all wear red or white colors regardless of the dress they wear. Boys mostly wear Punjabi and most girls wear saree. A variety of colorful clothes can be seen on that day. Everyone goes out to celebrate this day by dressing well and tidily.
In Bangladesh, all the people, according to tradition, also the indigenous community of this country celebrate their new year, which is Phul Boishabi. They celebrate this festival for three days. Like our Pahela Boishakh, this is also one of their festivals. They start this day by floating colorful flowers in the river early in the morning. Then various events continued throughout the day. On that day we all Bengalis celebrate the day together forgetting all differences, together we rejoice, leave the old days behind, and start the journey of the new day.
Pahela Boishakh is the biggest non-sectarian festival of Bengali. The custom of celebrating Pahela Boishakh as New Year dates back to the time of Mughal Emperor Akbar. The Bengali year is the solar year version of the Arabic or Hijri year. Since then, the last day of the year i.e. 30 Chaitra is celebrated as Chaitra Sankranti and Pahela Boishakh as New Year in Sambar. Celebrating New Year is a part of human civilization. The beginning of Barshabaran festival in human society is probably four thousand years ago. It is believed that the beginning of the New Year was in Babylon. People on the banks of Padma, Meghna, and Jamuna have also been celebrating Barshabaran for thousands of years. Even though the Gregorian calendar was introduced as a national calendar during the British colonial period, the importance of the Bengali calendar in rural society did not decrease so much. With the evolution of time, the use of the Gregorian calendar also increased in rural society. Even so, the farming community still carries out its crop activities keeping in mind the Bengali season. Bangla’s relationship with the country’s largest production system. The business community has also kept the Bangla New Year alive through Halkhata. Boishakhi Fair is one of the accompaniments of the Bengali New Year. New year’s Boishakhi fair becomes a meeting place for all people irrespective of caste and religion. The Bengali New Year comes with the lamentation of the stormy winds of Kalbaisakhi. All that is worn out is thrown away and the New Year is ushered in with the new. On New Year, Bengalis take an oath to forget past sorrows, deprivations and failures and move forward. The Bengali independence movement, liberation war- everywhere there is the unyielding determination of Pahela Boishakh. New Year has been considered as the main source of Bengali universal culture for ages. Halkhata, Boishakhi fairs and urban panta-hilsa revelry – allow us to think of ourselves as Bengali even in this age of modernity.
Happy New Year let the worn-out old, sad memories of the outgoing year wash away. Burn the rubbish of the failed life and let the waves of good welfare come to life. On the first dawn of the new year, people, irrespective of caste and creed, enjoy universal joy and happiness. The people of the country welcome the New Year with songs of harmony, beauty and welfare.
Along with the traditional New Year celebrations of Ramna, the colorful procession of fine arts institute students, Boishakhi fairs across wide areas including Halkhata in Old Dhaka, Sherbangla Nagar, Rabindra Sarobar in Dhanmandi, Banani and Gulshan, Dhaka becomes a festival city. Music, sports, processions, exhibitions, cultural programs are held throughout the day. Nothing is left out of the stick game.
The people of Bangladesh celebrate the New Year. In this country of Padma Meghna Jamuna, the tradition of celebrating the New Year is very old. The last day of the year i.e. 30 Chaitra is celebrated as Chaitrasankranti and Pahela Boishakh as New Year in Sambar. Boishakhi Fair is one of the accompaniments of the Bengali New Year. The month of Boishakh is called the month of fairs. The Boishakhi fair which is organized on the occasion of Bengali New Year becomes a meeting place for all people irrespective of caste and religion. The Bengali New Year comes with the lamentation of the stormy winds of Kalbaisakhi. The New Year ushers in the new by throwing away all that is old and worn out. On New Year, Bengalis take an oath to forget past sorrows, deprivations and failures and move forward. New Year has been considered as the source of Bengali universal culture for ages. Halkhatar ceremonies, Boishakhi fairs and urban Panta-Hilsha festivity allow us to think of ourselves as Bengalis even in this age of modernity.
Pahela Boishakh is a Bengali public festival. Since time immemorial, this festival has been celebrated in the villages of Bengal. Village fairs, Halkhata, various kinds of sports were the main accompaniments of the New Year. The traders used to organize the Halkhata festival to collect the debts of the previous year. The rural families used to buy the necessary gifts for the whole year from the fair. The best quality food was cooked in the house of the planet. Pahela Boishakh celebrations were going on in different places of Dhaka city. Halkhata festival was held in various places including Azimpur, Wari, Waizghat and Moulvibazar, fairs were held, goods were sold in the fairs, songs were played, rides and circuses were organized. In the 1960s, Ramna’s root cultural organization Chhaynat’s Barshabaran Sangeet Paribeshan started.
Pahela Boishakh inspires us to avoid all narrowness and ugliness and build a liberal lifestyle. Removes all the maladies and weariness inside the mind and gives us the energy to live with new enthusiasm and dreams. We Bengalis, a proud nation in the heart of the world, this sense of patriotism and Bengalines in us is revived and energized through the celebration of the first Boishakh. Today, not only in the country but also in the world, wherever the Bengalis have settled, they have carried and continue to carry the thousands of years of Bengali folk culture. They said that they are Bengali through various events including New Year and through this, the bridge between Bengali culture and other cultures is being created all over the world.
Hiren Pandit is a columnist and a researcher