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Composition : Pohela Boishakh

Pohela Boishakh

↬ Bangla New Year’s Day

↬ The Celebration of Pohela Boishakh in Bangladesh

↬ A Major Social Festival in Bangladesh


In today’s Bangladesh, another festival is gaining prominence, which is not related to religion – it is Bangla New Year’s Day. It is observed with great enthusiasm on the first day of Boishakh of the Bangla calendar. Its main characteristic feature is that it is a social festival and its appeal is universal. Such a festival which is not based on religion but still universal is rare in the world. During the last 400 years, many functions related to agriculture and six seasons have been amalgamated in it and by way of revolving in this way, the first day of Boishakh has turned into the New Year’s Day. Since the 1960s, Bengali New Year’s Day assumed a new dimension. During Ayub rule, when an attack was launched on Tagore songs and Bengali culture, Chhayanat arranged a function of Tagore songs under the famous banyan tree of Ramna on the occasion of observing the New Year’s Day on the first day of Boishakh. This endeavour of Chhayanat gradually became popular. After the independence of Bangladesh, the Bangla New Year’s Day was declared as an official holiday. Pohela Boishakh is now a major social festival in Bangladesh. 

As time passed by, many related matters have been added to this New Year’s Day. Some of these are now extinct, some are on the verge of extinction and a few are still in vogue in certain areas. A function that is on the verge of extinction is Punya. Its origin is not exactly known. However, it was in vogue till the abolition of the permanent settlement. On this day, the tenants would wear their available good clothes and go to the Kachhari or the Zamindar to pay rents and also some extra amounts as a mark of respect of the landlord. 

However, the Halkhata function observed mainly by the business community, is still in vogue. The businessmen complete their accounts of the previous year on the eve of the New Year’s Day. For this, many of them use a special kind of ledger having the cover made up of red cloth, which is known as khero Khata. On this day, the customers pay some advance and the businessmen treat them with sweetmeats. There are some who prepare better quality food, including sweetmeat, on the occasion of the New Year’s Day. Of the regional functions arranged on this occasion, mention may be made of the Bali Khela or wrestling held in Chittagong in the name of a certain Jabbar. The Gambhira of Rajshahi is also a similar kind of function. Once bull race was held in Munshiganj. 

Above all, the biggest function on the first day of Boishakh is the holding of fair. In some places, such a fair continues for a week, even a fortnight. These fairs are the changed forms of the ancient seasonal, agricultural and other festivals of the country. Boishakhi fair has not religious fervour. On the first day as well as first week of Boishakh, about 200 fairs are held throughout Bangladesh. In the fairs arranged in Dhaka and also in other towns and urban areas, along with the earthen and handicraft items, book fairs are also held. Many publishing houses present books to the clients as tokens of New Year’s good wishes.


আরো দেখুন :
রচনা : নববর্ষ

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