All set to welcome Bangla New Year

Staff Correspondent

People irrespective of age, gender, religion and ethnicity usher in the Bangla New Year 1422 with festivity, on the Pahela Baishakh, first day of Bengali calendar, today.
Countrymen welcome the year with colourful processions, songs and fairs, beginning from dawn across the country. Besides, businesses start the day on a new ledger, closing out last year’s one.
The day coincides with the 98th day of protracted transport blockade enforced by the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led alliance.
Thousands of people in the capital Dhaka gather at Ramna Batamul, the main venue of the celebrations, at sunrise, amid heightened security. Cultural organisation Chhayanaut, who has been holding a music soiree there since 1965, remains the focal point of celebrations till now.
Fine arts students of Dhaka University bring out a procession from campus called Mangal Shobhajatra with floats, festoons and traditional objects reflecting Bengali culture and heritage, in the morning.
The capital puts on a festive look, and, from early morning, people in traditional attire will throng Ramna Batamul, Suhrawardy Udyan, Shahbagh, Dhaka University campus and other venues, to celebrate the day.
Various social, political and cultural organisations have taken up elaborate programmes to celebrate the day.
The president, Abdul Hamid, the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, the leader of the opposition in the parliament, Raushan Ershad, and the opposition BNP chairperson, Khaleda Zia, issued messages greeting the nation on the occasion.
People will flock to Baishakhi Mela and other gatherings, a major feature of the celebrations, in places including Surhwardy Udyan and Rabindra Sarobar in Dhaka and across the country.
Bangladeshis living in other countries will also celebrate Pahela Baishakh by holding fairs and cultural programmes.
Bengalis living in West Bengal and some other places will, however, celebrate Pahela Baishakh tomorrow in accordance with the religious Bangla calendar.
The Bangla year with its first month Baishakh was introduced during the rule of Mughal Emperor Akbar.
The day is a public holiday.
Bangladesh Betar and all television channels will air special programmes while newspapers will publish special supplements.
Law enforcers fortified security to avoid any kind of untoward incidents during the celebration. Dhaka Metropolitan Police have asked people to finish celebrations of by 5:30pm as there are risks in evening or night celebrations.
Security has also been heightened in shopping malls, markets and business establishments in the capital.
Law enforcers have already set up control rooms in Ramna Park.
While Bengalis celebrate Pahela Baishakh, the hill communities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts holding Boisabi celebration at the same time.
On Boisabi — a term formed by the first syllables of Tripura festival Boisuk, Marma’s Sangrain and Chakma festival Biju or Tanchangya’s Bisu—people welcome the new Bengali year.
New Year celebration Hongorani of Hajong and Garo, two indigenous communities of the plains, coincide with the Bangla New Year, according to Sanjeeb Drong, general secretary of Adivasi Forum.

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