At 6 a.m., they join singers from leading cultural organization Chhayanaut and sing (Come, O Boishakh, Come, Come), to welcome Bangla New Year.
The singing of the song, composed by Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore, marks the start of daylong festivities for the largest traditional, non-sectarian festival, observed by ethnic Bengali people in Bangladesh, India and beyond.
"People need a platform like this to bring an end to all the differences they have.
This is very important for dialogue, unity and the common good." A celebration of culture and traditions Every year on April 14, thousands of people, irrespective of caste and creed, flock at dawn to a large banyan tree in Ramna Park in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka.
The festival celebrates the simple rural cultural heritage of ancient Bengal, which today is comprised of present-day Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal.
In modern times, the festival has gained popularity in urban centers like Dhaka where people migrated en masse in the hope of bettering their lives. As part of the day, the teachers and students of the Fine Arts Institute will join hundreds of people during the colorful (welfare procession) which includes large figurines of birds, animals and dolls wearing colorful masks, singing and dancing to the beat of drums and rhythm of music."Instead of securing the festival the government is placing restrictions which will curtail people's free celebration of the occasion," she says.The church and the New Year Christians, a tiny minority representing less than one percent of the country's population of 160 million, embrace the New Year with prayers and festivities.In 2001, a militant group bombed a New Year concert in Dhaka, leaving 10 dead and scores injured.During a rally in Dhaka on April 9, leaders of a radical Islamic group, the Olama League, called on the government to ban Muslims from engaging in Pohela Boishakh festivities, sparking an outcry from cultural activists and secularists.In rural areas, people still celebrate this spirit from their hearts, but in urban areas it's more like an exhibition," Shekhar told Amid extremist threats, the nation should "look back to its roots" for lessons, he suggests.Some groups might dislike this festival, but they can't stop people from enjoying the feast because they love their culture and stand for interreligious harmony," says Fr.De Rozario "The spirit of Pohela Boishakh is unity in diversity — we are different in many ways but our age-old culture binds us together.The Muslim-majority nation has seen a sharp rise in religious bigotry and fanaticism in recent times, with Islamic militants targeting atheist writers and publishers, and minority groups including Shias, Christians and Hindus.Some hard-line Islamic groups have termed New Year festivities un-Islamic saying they originated from Hindu traditions.