If you get yourself out on the streets during Pohela Baishakh, you will surely find a lot of music in the air along with the Mangal Shobhajatra, masks, banner, placard, festoons, etc.
As history says, the colourful procession we popularly know as Mangal Shobhajatra was started by Charupith in Jessore in 1985. Later in 1989, the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka arranged this Mangal Shobhajatra with different motives and themes. Different cultural organizations and bands also perform on this occasion and fairs celebrating Bengali culture are organized throughout the country. During this occasion, Dhaka wears a different look on that day. Let’s take a look at where Dhakaites flock the most on the 14th of April.
Chhayanaut’s Bengali New Year celebration activities start as soon as dawn breaks, under the big banyan tree at Ramna, with the song “Esho he Boishakh” by Rabindranath Tagore. Mangal Shobhajatra begins early in the morning. Some of the cultural events are music and drawing competition, acting, drama, boat racing, etc.
The show will also feature vibrant musical and dance recitals of different genres by Chhayanaut artistes. Bangladesh Television and some private television channels telecasts the show live.
Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy arranges an elaborated programme featuring solo and group dances, songs performances and recitals at the Nandan Mancha in the evening to welcome the Bengali New Year.
The programme features traditional Puthi Path (folk recitation) by traditional artistes. Besides, the programme presents songs, poems and dance in solo and group recitals by eminent and young artistes.
Charukala (Dhaka University’s Faculty of Fine Arts), Bakultala
The Dhaka University Mangal Shobhajatra tradition started in 1989 when students used the procession to overcome their frustration with the military rule. They organize the procession with mask, festoon and different types of replicas of elephant, folk tiger, colourful birds, fish, goats, horse and others from its premises with at least three themes, one highlighting evil, another courage, and a third about peace. It also highlighted the pride of Bangladeshi people for their folk heritage irrespective of religion, creed, caste, gender or age.
Alongside this, a Boishakhi Festival takes place at Charukala. The day-long festival features various stalls selling items, cultural artifacts, etc, along with popular rural rides such as the Nagordola (the Bengali Ferris Wheel, only faster.)
Starting at early morning, Bangla Academy organizes a day long combined programme along with Dhaka University’s Faculty of Fine Arts. Streets become colorful as the students of the Faculty of Fine Arts of Dhaka University take out a procession, which is one of the major attractions of Pahela Baishakh programs.
The procession walks from the Fine Arts Faculty to Shahbagh and then back to the university’s Teachers Students Center (TSC). Thousands of people, in traditional and bright attires, join the procession. Students of fine arts bring many colorful banners, festoons, mascots and replicas of birds and animals based on traditional folklores of the country.
Rabindra Sharabar, adjacent to Dhanmondi Lake, is another place to celebrate the day with great emphasis. A concert is organized right before the day which runs all the night and another phase of the programme starts as soon as the sun rises. Folk songs, Pitha Utshab, burning Fanush (lanterns) hoping the best things for the upcoming year takes place in the lake area. A district based stage-drama competition is organised in the evening.
Still, there are other places holding several programs, special events and food festivals all over the city and the country. But, recently the government has ordered all the Pohela Baishakh programmes to stop right after 5pm because of the current security issues all over the country. Hoping for the best, we expect to overcome the issues in upcoming year.