Dhaka, April 14: Bangladesh celebrated Bengali New Year on Monday by combining traditional and modern practices.
“We’ve seen one of the biggest concentrations of shoppers this weekend as customers rush to shopping malls to buy new clothes and other items,” Selim Reza, a salesman of Aarong, Bangladesh’s leading fashion and lifestyle brand, told Xinhua.
Over the weekend, city residents have been swarming to shopping malls and marketplaces causing a huge traffic gridlock in major roads in the city.
The city’s fashion houses and boutiques were abuzz with shoppers who bought traditional dresses not only for their families but also for their relatives and friends, a traditional activity during the celebration of “Poila Baishakh” or Bengali New Year.
“I’ve already purchased dresses for me and my relatives,” a shopper said. “Now I would buy some pieces of jewellery to match my new dress.”
Most residents here are dressed in traditional costumes such as the Saaree.
During the New Year, Bengalis usually start the day with the traditional simple breakfast of panta-bhat (leftover rice soaked in water) and fried hilsa fish.
Many were also seen busy buying cakes, sweets and fruits “to sweeten the mood” during the celebration.
Boishakhi fairs are organised in many parts of Dhaka and elsewhere in the country. The lifestyle of rural Bengal is showcased in almost all these fairs which also stage traditional folk songs and plays.
Mughal Emperor Akbar introduced the Bangla calendar year and the celebration of Poila Baishakh, marking the advent of Bengali New Year, which is now considered as an integral part of the Bengali’s cultural heritage and tradition.
The Bengali New Year coincides with the mid-April New Year in India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand, apart from Cambodia.