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     Volume 7 Issue 16 | April 18, 2008 |

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Photo Feature

A Grand Beginning

Photo: Zahedul I. Khan
Text: Nader Rahman

Bangla New Year celebrations must rank as some of the most colourful around the world and this year was no different. The atmosphere begins to build up roughly a week before the big day,. During that time in Dhaka the epicentre of all things Boishakhi is the art institute at Dhaka University. It starts with students selling their work at knock down rates in order to pay for a parade they put together on Pahela Boishakh. Their work is sold so that they can pay for the paint and materials needed to make colourful masks that are used in the parade. The atmosphere is electric with the young artists working throughout the night painting anything they can get their hands on, from pots to scraps of paper and it is all done for the greater good of the parade. Their hard work and effort culminates on Pahela Boishakh when they assemble for the colourful, vibrant parade which people from all walks of life take part in. It is truly a sight to see, but the end of the parade is merely the beginning of the fun. The day is filled with little melas (fairs) taking place all over the city and women in their red and white sari's along with men in their new years best. Face painting is also a popular Boishakhi tradition that is enjoyed by young and old alike. But for many the endearing image of the Bengali New Year is of flowers, strewn across streets and pinned to women's hair, their colours representing the vibrant arrival of the New Year.

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