Farzana Atique, PE, Transportation Engineer II, Newark, DE
Pohela Boishakh is a celebration on April 14 in Bangladesh and West Bengal (India) that marks the first day of the Bengali Calendar. The day is also celebrated by many Bangladeshi and Bengali people living in different countries around the world. The traditional greeting for Bengali New Year is Shuvo (Happy) Nobo Borsho (New Year).
"Since 2015, the local American-Bangladeshi community in Delaware and surrounding areas have started to observe the occasion in a more organized way," Farzana says. "The kids and adults perform songs, recitals, and dances wearing traditional dresses. By having these events, we hope the next generation will be able to appreciate their forefather’s cultural heritage."
In the photo to the right, Farzana and her family are attending the Pohela Boishakh program at the Aetna Fire Hall in Newark, DE in 2017. She is wearing a traditional saree and her husband and sons are wearing punjabi. It is a tradition of Pohela Boishakh celebration to wear red and white attire.
It is believed that the Bengali calendar was created during the rule of Mughal Emperor, Akbar. During that time, the economy depended on agricultural products. In Bengal, the agricultural cycle revolved around its six seasons. Under the Mughals, taxes were collected based on Arabic year, which did not match with the seasonal cycle of the region. A new Bengali calendar was designed to keep the nature of all seasons, their duration, and their contribution to agriculture in mind.
Some of the highlights of the celebration observed in Bangladesh include Boishaki Parade (Mongol Shuvo Jatra), which is a mass procession that takes place at the dawn of the Bengali New Year day. It features gigantic replicas of fish, birds, folk tales, and other motifs. The rally symbolizes unity, peace, and a secular celebration of all Bengali people irrespective of their religion, class, age, and gender.
We hope next year will bring joy, happiness, and blessings to everyone. Shovo Noboborsho!