Bangladesh’s businesses community is set to celebrate Halkhata today, a traditional festival of opening new account books on the first day of Bangla New Year.
Halkhata refers to opening of new red-coloured financial ledger book on Pohela Boishakh, first day of Bangla New Year.
On this occasion, businesses invite customers to their shops and welcome them with sweets, while the customers are expected to clear all old debts.
Halkhata, a part of tradition of Bengali New Year, was introduced in the era of Mughal Emperor Akbar to collect taxes.
According to traders, a section of businessmen in semi-urban, urban and especially in old part of Dhaka city areas celebrate Pohela Boishakh opening Halkhata.
During a visit to old part of Dhaka on Thursday, traders were seen busy getting ready to welcome Bangla New Year 1424.
This year around 2,000 businesses are scheduled to open Halkhata at Tanti Bazar and Shankhari Bazar in the city, traders said. The jewellers were cleaning and decorating their shops to welcome the New Year.
The businesses had already bought a large amount of sweets for guests and clients.
The stationary shops at the city’s Babu Bazar saw an increase in selling ledger books to be used Halkhata. The ledger books are red-coloured as the red is believed to be the colour of propitious.
Tanti Bazaar, one of the oldest parts of Dhaka city, houses numerous small jewellery shops on the both sides of its narrow alleys.
Many of these shops are old with the business running from one generation to another.
“Halkhata has lost its appeal to some extent with the advancement of technology but we are going to celebrate Pohela Boishakh opening Halkhata as new beginning,” Swapan Shil, owner of New Gold and Silver House, at Tanti Bazar, told the Dhaka Tribune.
He said they already invited their customers clients and bought sweets, jewellery boxes and mugs as gifts to be offered to customers.
Md Nuruzzaman, owner of M/S Nipa Store at Shankhari Bazar, said the tradition of Halkhata is a tradition of Bangalis irrespective of religious faith.
“The opening of Halkhata is for all businessmen. On Pohela Boishakh, I will hold a milad (an Islamic way to thank Allah) to welcome the New Year and open the ledger book as Halkhata,” he said.