Pahela Baishakh, the first day of Bangla calendar, was celebrated across the country on Tuesday without outdoor programmes due to the coronavirus pandemic.
All television channels aired a special programme in the morning to digitally celebrate the day. The programme was broadcast from 8:30am as per the directive of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Artistes from Chhayanaut did not welcome the day with Tagore’s famous song ‘Esho hey Baishakh, esho, esho (come O Baishakh, come)’ under the banyan tree at the Ramna Park at dawn this year.
Pahela Baishakh is celebrated every year on April 14 amid festivities and much enthusiasm. But this year, the programmes were cancelled to avoid mass gatherings in a bid to curb the transmission of coronavirus.
On April 1, Chhayanaut announced that it would not organise the annual Baishakh cultural festivity at Ramna Park.
“Since 1967, Chhayanaut has been regularly arranging the traditional cultural festivity under the banyan tree at city’s Ramna Park to welcome the Bangla New Year. The only exception was in 1971, and we’ve decided to postpone this year’s festivity amid the global coronavirus outbreak,” Chhayanaut General Secretary Laisa Ahmed Lisa said in a press release.
Earlier, the Cabinet Division instructed authorities concerned to postpone all programmes of Pahela Baishakh to avoid mass gatherings.
The celebrations of Pahela Baishakh have become an integral part of Bangalees since it began over six centuries ago.
Mughal Emperor Akbar introduced the Bangla calendar in the 1556 of the Gregorian calendar in a bid to streamline the timing of land tax collection in the then ‘Subah Bangla’ region, the much of which falls under Bangladesh.
The day is a public holiday.
On the occasion, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate massages greeting country’s people and all Bangla-speaking people across the globe.
President Hamid said thousands of people are getting infected with the virus and dying across the world every day and Bangladesh has also been attacked by it.
“Our main responsibility is now to protect the people and the country from the clutches of coronavirus,” he said, adding that it is a must to maintain social distancing and follow health guidelines for this.
The President urged all to face the coronavirus being aware without getting panicked.
In her message, the Prime Minister urged the people to avoid public gatherings and celebrate the Bangla New Year digitally from home.
Bangladesh on Tuesday recorded the highest number of coronavirus cases in one day as 209 more people tested positive, raising the total number to 1012.
Also read: A colourless Pahela Baishakh
Besides, seven more people died from the virus during the period, raising the death toll to 46.