No outdoor programs will be allowed to continue after 5pm, police say
Thousands of people are celebrating Pohela Boishakh, the first day of Bangali New Year 1426, across Bangladesh.
This celebration is deep-rooted in cultural identity; it is a common symbol against all odds and communalism.
The new sunrise, early on Sunday morning, brought new hope of better days for Bangalis.
As dawn broke, thousands swarmed to the Ramna Batamul festival ground to ring in the Bangla New Year.
As the sun started to rise in the east, Chhayanaut, a leading cultural organization in the country, greeted the new year with a chorus, singing the songs of Pohela Boishakh, poetry recitations, and traditional songs.
Many more cultural organizations, including Udichi and Sammilita Sangskritik Jote, have also chalked out several programs to celebrate the day.
Police have outlined several restrictions on celebrations, citing security reasons, including that no outdoor programs will be allowed to continue after 5pm.
This year, the Rapid Action Battalion—along with other law-enforcement agencies—have taken heavy security measures to ensure smooth celebrations of the Bangla New Year.
A bomb disposal team, dog squads, and medical teams have been kept ready while all the open venues are under CCTV surveillance. The Dhaka Metropolitan Police have also undertaken stringent measures for this year's celebrations.
True to their centuries’-old tradition, people from all walks of life will gather at different popular and historic spots, at dawn, in the capital—and elsewhere—to hail the New Year with new hopes and aspirations for a better, peaceful year.
The celebration of Pohela Boishakh has become an integral part of Bangalis since it began over six centuries ago.
Mughal Emperor Akbar introduced the Bangla calendar—in 1556 of the Gregorian calendar—in a bid to streamline the timing of land tax collection in the then-"Subah Bangla" region, much of which falls under current-day Bangladesh. The day is now a public holiday.
On the occasion, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages conveying their Bangla New Year’s greetings to the people of the country and all Bangla-speaking people across the globe.
President Abdul Hamid, in his message, said Pohela Boishakh is an integral part of Bangali culture. "The Bangalis have been celebrating Pohela Boishakh as a universal and non-communal festival for a long period of time,” he added.
He expressed his firm belief that this day will bring the strength to the national life to build the Bangladesh dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
He wished that Bengali New Year 1426 would bring happiness, peace, and progress for the country.
In her message, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the nation starts the first day of Bengali New Year with the hope of progress of life, forgetting all shortcomings and sorrows.
Business communities, especially in the rural areas, are ready to open their traditional "Halkhata," new account books, while sweets will be distributed among customers to mark the day, she said.
The Awami League government has been working relentlessly for the development of the country, inspired by the spirit of the great Liberation War, she said, adding that the incumbent government is completing the unfinished work of the Father of the Nation.
The government has been working following the policy of "Zero Tolerance" for the eradication of militancy, terrorism and drugs, she added.
On every return of Pohela Boishakh, the first day of the Bangla year—also the country’s biggest cultural festival—people of all walks of life, especially the youths, come out on the roads at daybreak wearing traditional dresses to celebrate the day.
Thousands of people will throng traditional venues in different parts of the capital, including: Ramna Park, Suhrawardy Udyan, Central Shaheed Minar, Dhaka University , Shahbagh, and Dhanmondi Lake areas, to welcome the Bangla New Year.