4/16/2014

Pohela Boishakh

Suvo Noboborsho!!(A Happy New Year!)
April 14th is Pohela Boishakh, Bengali New Year.
The day is the first day of Bengali calendar, and celebrated throughout the country.
It became 1421.

Last year on April 14th, I was in hospital suffering from fever.
So this time, I tried my best to enjoy this important holiday.

Not like December 31th, the new year starts with sunrise.
My colleague advised me to visit Ramna park in the early morning.
Many cultural events take place there.

I got up at 6 a.m.
Red & white are the colors for the day.
I wore red color saree because it was the only one which includes red.
(It still takes long time, but I can manage to wear saree now..)

Leaving home, I found door of landlord opened.
"Good morning, Shuvo noboborsho!"
They offered me New Year's breakfast, but unfortunately I didn't have time.

There wasn't jam in the morning, so it didn't take long time to go there.
However, roads were closed in the area.
Getting off the bus, and found a Rikshaw puller.....
With hat!
I was excited at the atmosphere of festival.

Girls wore red & white saree.
Going forward, then I found long line to enter the area.
Police officers were giving sweet to people.
Sweet white stuff....not too sweet, "so so" I would say.
But giving sweet to people is lovely idea.
Then passing the gate,
Got in the park.
Kids were playing,
People are sitting and talking,
There was music, but concert would start later.
Getting out from the park, many shops were on the street.
Toy like whistle was sold, and people blew loudly.
I wondered if it wasn't too much volume for themselves.

Anyway, my next mission is to have typical breakfast for New Year, "Panta Bhat" and "Ilish(Hilsa) fish".
Panta bhat is "water rice" in direct translation.
It is originally eaten in village.
leftover rice was soaked in water to be kept cool, and be prevented spoiling during hot summer season.
Village people have it with salt, onion and chili.

Ummm............but wouldn't it be spoiled faster if you pour water??
But as people used to do it, maybe it is true....

Anyway, it became the typical food for Boishakh breakfast.
I am in doubt if panta bhat is tasty, but I have to try.
I asked around restaurants on the street, and finally found.

So let's eat.
Panta bhat came with fried Illish fish, fried eggplant, bodda(mashed vegetable), and chili.
Looks normal......

However, water was found slightly in the plate.
You can see more clearly in the big pot.
This is Panta bhat!!
Taste is......"rice in water".
Not really my favorite, but my Japanese friend liked it.

Around 11 a.m, rally started.
Rally takes place to wish peaceful, fruitful year.
There are symbol for the year, and duck and owl are ones for this year.
Umm....too much people.
If you miss rally, you can visit faculty of art in Dhaka university to see the work.
This is work by students.
There were many people inside the campus.
There were also many people taking pictures.
As Japanese pint of view, their pose is.....surprising.

I planned to leave a bit earlier, but I stayed there whole morning.
Walking in crowd under sun exhausted me.
It is very vibrant, lively event.....but you have to prepare yourself before getting into the crowd!

After walking around, I and my friends visited Bangali friend's home.
Actually, my friend's friend.
Even though I have never seen him, he and his family warmly welcomed us, and treated very well.
Panta bhat, Illish fish, Potato bodda were served.
 
Biscuit which looks like leaf is sweet.
This sweet is available everywhere on the day.
At super market, a corner is for New Year's sweet.
 
I was exhausted, but New Year's Day hadn't finished.
My friend invited me to "Boishakh Buffet Dinner" at Ascott Hotel in Baridhara.
Restraints and Hotels hold the Boishakh fair, so it is also one choice to visit one of them.

Terrace seat felt good at night.
Live folk songs were played in front.
As we sat, traditional mango drink was served as welcome drink.
It was a bit sour.
Juice is made of Mango, salt, and chili.....chili again!
But wasn't bad.
 
Bengali food was available.



Harim, soup and variety of curry....illish of course, chicken, beef, shrimp...e.t.c.
I don't eat beef much in Bangladesh, but the beef was very soft!

Of course, dessert is for New Year's Day.
Walking in crowd and feeling live atmosphere was good.
However, setting at terrace and having dinner with music is definitely lovely.
 
I couldn't see any last year, but I saw twice as much in this year.
(Though I was tired twice as much.....)
 
April 14th is one of the best time to visit Bangladesh.
Come to celebrate New Year's Day in 1422!
(Though I am not here..)

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