As dawn broke on Saturday, millions of Bangladeshis swarmed to the Ramna Batamul festival ground, to beckoning in Bengali New Year 1425, Agencies report.
Pahela Baishakh, the first day of the New Year, or the first day of the spring, was welcomed with a call for Bangalees to remember their self-identity in this era of globalisation.
The festival celebration began at dawn, with special pantabhaat (soaked rice fried hilsha), traditional songs, women wearing saris and coloured glass bangles and men in fancy panjabis, kurtas and gamchas.
A group of musicians took to the streets singing the Robindro Sangeet–‘Esho Hey Baishakh’.
“We can flourish in this era of globalisation by realising the truth and beauty of our culture and connecting to our roots,” said Chhayanaut President Sanjida Khatun.
As sun started to rise in the east, Chhayanaut, a leading cultural organisation in the country, greeted the New Year with a chorus singing the songs of Pahela Baishakh, poetry recitations and traditional songs.
In the morning, Dhaka University’s Faculty of Fine Arts arranged the Mangal Shobhajatra, a traditional parade, where people from all ages, classes and professions took part carrying masks, dolls, playing drums and other musical instruments.
DU Vice-Chancellor Md Akhtaruzzaman inaugurated the rally, which paraded through the TSC and the Intercontinental hotel area.
Many more cultural organsiations, including Udichi and Sammilita Sangskritik Jote, have also chalked out several programmes to celebrate the day. The Bangla Academy, in addition to a cultural event, has also organised a 10-day book fair.
Police have outlined several restrictions on the celebrations, citing security reasons. No outdoor programmes will be allowed to continue after 5pm.
This year, RAB along with other law-enforcing agencies organised heavy security so as to ensure smooth celebrations of the Bangla New Year.
A mobile court patrolled with the RAB team on the streets for the first time in various locations to check the harassment of women and other criminal activities.
A RAB helicopter hovered over the city looking for any suspicious movements. 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 the New Year celebrations.