Bangla New Year!

A Bangla New Year's (Pohela Boishakh) parade. The colorful masks represent kings, queens and numerous animals, all hand-made.

Bangla New Year's, popularly called Pohela Boishakh is the first day of the Bengali calendar, just as the 1st of January is the first day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. Pohela Boishakh is celebrated every year on the 14th of April and is a national holiday in Bangladesh and some parts of India. The greeting for the occasion is Shubho Noboborsho (শুভ নববর্ষ), meaning Happy New Year! 

Pohela Boishakh is celebrated since the time of Emperor Akbar, hundreds of years ago, when he introduced the Bengali calendar. The festival is celebrated by Bangaldeshis with a riot of colors, from the decorations to the clothes and accessories people wear. The most popular decorations are the signature colorful masks, made in the style of South Asian folk art and depicting animals, kings and queens.

Before the pandemic, the occasion was celebrated with people parading the streets, donning traditional colorful Bengali attire and with carnivals, where singing and dancing performances take place. People also have a mouthful of Bengali food, such as hilsha fish (ইলিশ মাছ) and roshmalai (রোশমালাই), a sweet delicacy. However, like last year, people will celebrate this year at home with their families, recalling the past celebrations they celebrated and look forward to going back to normal.

A Pohela Boishakh parade (before the pandemic).
A Pohela Boishakh parade (before the pandemic).
Visual arts