People across the country have chalked out plans to celebrate the first day of Bangla New Year 1424 collectively through there are security concerns.
Law enforcers are kept on high alert as several Islamists groups have issued threats and statements against the observance of the day, particularly the iconic Mongol Shobhajatra procession, terming it anti-Islamic.
Moreover, hate speech and threats issued by some banned militant groups including Ansar al-Islam against the Bangali culture have created some tension as those outfits have killed dozens of people – mostly secularists and non-Muslims – in the last couple of years.
In many places, the police have asked people to wrap up outdoor programmes by 5pm.
To mark the day, people usually prepare foods, clean their houses, and invite relatives and friends to the festival. They wear new clothes and feed the needy people while enjoying the day seeking blessings for the year to come.
Fair pavilions and shops have been set up in localities and market places showcasing traditional items and different types of sweets. The traders are eagerly waiting for the crowd to throng the fair premises today.
The celebrations cover farewell of the outgoing year and welcoming the New Year through colourful Mongol Shobhajatra, cultural performances, and sightseeing and roaming around with friends and families.
Replicating the observance of Mongol Shobhajatra in Dhaka, the students of different educational institutions and socio-cultural groups are set to bring out the procession in the morning.
Organisers were working relentlessly until last night to make the procession and other events successful.
Police in uniform and plain clothes will patrol all the areas across the country especially the tourist spots where people will observe the day in large groups. Tight security measures have also been taken for the event venues in Dhaka.
On the other hand, the indigenous groups of the Chittagong Hill Tracts have been carrying out different programmes as per their unique rituals that last three to five days.
The Marma community people started observing their five-day Sangrai to welcome the New Year by holding a colourful procession from Rajarhat field in Bandarban town on Thursday, our correspondent reported.
In Sylhet city, the universities and colleges have organised programmes in more than 50 spots. The city corporation is holding a five-day-long Boishakhi fair on the bank of the Surma River where art and cultural competitions and performances will take place.
Sommilito Natya Parishad Sylhet on Thursday afternoon held a programme to bid farewell to Bangla 1423 in Chandni Ghat.
The National Board of Revenue observed the first-ever Halkhata programme in Sylhet and realised Tk1.95 crore from taxpayers on Thursday. Prof Muhammed Zafar Iqbal inaugurated the programme at the Tax Commissioner’s office in the morning.