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Pohela Baishakh

Bangladeshi national festival

Bengali New Year ( নববর্ষ Nôbobôrsho ) or Pôhela Boishakh (পহেলা বৈশাখ or পয়লা বৈশাখ ), occurring on 14th April , is the first day of the Bengali calendar , celebrated in both Bangladesh and Indian state of West Bengal , and in Bengali communities in the otherIndian states like : Assam , Tripura , Jharkhand and Orissa and all over India as well where the Bengali community arises . It coincides with the New Year's Days of numerous Southern Asian calendars.
Pôhela Boishakh connects all ethnic Bengalis irrespective of religious and regional differences. In India , in West Bengal , Tripura and Assam , it is a public(state) holiday and is publicly celebrated in 14 April every year (or as per the Bengali calendar). In Bangladesh , it is a national holiday .
In Bengali , Pohela stands for ‘first’ and Boishakh is first month of Bengali calendar. The festival is celebrated according to the Bengali Calendar . Bangla New Year's festivities are closely linked with rural life in Bengal. Usually on Pohela Boishakh, the home is thoroughly scrubbed and cleaned; people bathe early in the morning and dress in traditional clothes. They spend much time of the day visiting relatives, friends and neighbours. Special foods are prepared to entertain guests. This is one rural festival that has become enormously big in the cities, especially in Dhaka.
Boishakhi fairs are arranged in many parts of the country. Various agricultural products, traditional handicrafts, toys, cosmetics, as well as various kinds of food and sweets are sold at these fairs. The fairs also provide entertainment, with singers and dancers staging jatra (traditional plays), pala gan , kobigan , jarigan , gambhira gan , gazir gan and alkap gan . They present folk songs as well as baul , marfati , murshidi and bhatiali songs. Narrative plays like Laila-Majnu , Yusuf-Zulekha and Radha-Krishna are staged. Among other attractions of these fairs are puppet shows and merry-go-rounds. Panta Ilish - a traditional platter of leftover rice soaked in water with fried Hilsa, supplemented with driedfish ( Shutki ), pickles ( Achar ), lentils ( dal ), green chillies and onion - a popular dish for the Pohela Boishakh festival in the city of Kolkata andthe whole of West Bengal . The most colourful New Year's Dayfestival takes place in Dhaka . Large numbers of people gather early in the morning under the banyan tree at Ramna Park where Chhayanat artists open the day with Rabindranath Tagore 's famous song, এসো, হে বৈশাখ, এসো এসো Esho, he Boishakh, Esho Esho (Come, O Boishakh, Come, Come). A similar ceremony welcoming the new yearis also held at the Institute of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka. Students and teachers of the institute take outa colourful procession and parade round the campus. Social and cultural organisations celebrate the day with cultural programmes. Newspapers bring out special supplements. There are also special programmes on radio and television. The current Bengali year is 1419 .Today, Pohela Boishakh celebrations also mark a day of cultural unity without distinction between class or religious affiliations. Of the major holidays celebrated in Bangladesh , only Pohela Boishakh comes withoutany preexisting expectations (specific religious identity, culture of gift-giving, etc.). Unlike holidays like Eid ul-Fitr , where dressing up in lavish clothes has become a norm, or Christmas where exchanging gifts has become an integral part of the holiday, Pohela Boishakh is really about celebrating the simpler, rural roots of the Bengal.As a result, more people can participate in the festivities together without the burden of having to reveal one's class, religion, or financialcapacity.

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