Pahela Baishakh

Every year you will find Bangladesh absolutely come to life as its people flock to the streets to enjoy the merriment of the Pahela Baishakh festival. Basically this festival takes place on Bangla New Years Day and it has been a very prominent part of Bangladeshi culture for so long that no one today can pinpoint the beginnings of these festivities to a particular period in time. It is mainly a commercial affair that is enjoyed by both patrons and businessmen alike and no trip to Bangladesh would be complete without seeing something of these New Year’s celebrations.

The Pahela Baishakh festivities start with the consumption of a hearty breakfast. The menu will typically include gur, cheera and yogurt and the people of Bangladesh take their time to enjoy this most delicious meal. After this, they will start getting dressed to enjoy the festivities of the fairs. The clothing is usually quite festive and in this way reflects the joyousness of the event. The fairs always take place at a location that has been decided long before hand. Usually the shade of a banyan tree is a popular place to hold the festivities though the fresh air found along a riverfront is also ideal. Here is where you will find stall upon stall offering beautiful clay dolls or plastic toys. Children nag their parents for these expensive items while puppet shows educate and entertain and clowns vie for the public’s attention.

In the bigger city centers Pahela Baishakh has become a most valued tradition. The Ramna Batamool function in Dhaka is widely known as being the most famous and largest of all these events. The various stalls and fairs are kept open for an entire week and some 100 female artists dress in golden silk saris with ornate red borders in order to take their place under the banyan tree from where they can sing a variety of beautiful songs to the public.

Amazingly enough, such a merry occasion usually ends somewhat abruptly. With tried and tested exactness, a small speck of dark cloud on the horizon in the early morning soon sweeps over the country and ushers in a massive storm. Howling winds sweep away whatever is left of the stalls and dust limits visibility. Before long, rain starts to pour releasing the heat of the day and bringing a spell of relief. Unfortunately this storm can sometimes be a bit severe and may cause loss of life and extensive damage to property. However this is considered the perfect end to the day’s celebrations and the entire event is greatly anticipated by the people of Bangladesh.