Bangladesh celebrates its new year after two years frustrated by covid-19

BANGLADESH NEW YEAR

Dhaka, Apr 14 (EFE) .- Bangladesh celebrated this Thursday the arrival of the Bengali New Year, 1429 according to its calendar, amid festivities and colorful activities after two years of frustrated celebrations due to restrictions due to the covid-19 pandemic. 19.

Some celebrations that could not take place in 2020 and 2021, when the authorities prohibited mass gatherings to stop the spread of coronavirus.

RETURN OF THE HOLIDAY ATMOSPHERE

This year therefore marks the return of the festive atmosphere to the streets of Bangladesh, although the authorities ordered the end of the outdoor celebrations at 2:00 p.m. and asked that festive masks not be worn to avoid security threats and maintain the sanctity of Ramadan in this Muslim-majority country.

To make the most of the limited time available, people flocked to the Dhaka University campus, one of the main meeting places, to finally celebrate the new year from early in the morning.

The Pahela Baishakh or the first day of the Bengali New Year celebrations consist of colorful processions, songs and fairs, and many cultural programs that go on until late at night and bring together all kinds of people, regardless of age, religion and ethnicity. .

“This is the only secular festival in Bangladesh where Muslims and Hindus can come together. No other festival is as important as this one in our national life, ”he told Efe Arun Bal, who, accompanied by his son, was observing the festivities from a distance.

Activities traditionally start early in the morning, spearheaded by the Chhayanaut cultural organization, which performs songs and poems in the capital’s Ramna Park.

After the forced break in 2020 and 2021, this organization was once again in charge of livening up the atmosphere from dawn, when its artists welcomed the first day of the year by performing a popular song by the Nobel Prize winner for Bengali literature, Rabindranath Tagore.

LESS ATTENDANCE THAN IN PAST YEARS

However, the number of those present at the festivities “was less than in the past,” another of those present, Ekush Tapadar, told Efe, who attributed the drop in attendance to “security concerns and Ramadan.”

Despite the fact that the health situation in Bangladesh is much more positive than in the last two years, without exceeding a hundred cases per day in April and with only two deaths from covid-19 this month, health experts warned that it is still for the time to feel completely safe.

“We must continue to encourage people to wash their hands regularly and wear masks because they have other health benefits. The covid situation may have eased, but we must not forget that it is not completely gone,” recommended virologist Nazrul Islam.

A precaution shared by the Minister of the Interior, Asaduzzaman Khan, who warned the population on Wednesday that they should reduce the celebrations since the coronavirus has not completely disappeared, despite the fact that the Government lifted all restrictions on February 22.

And it is that despite the police restrictions and the fear of covid, the authorities know of the difficulties in controlling the celebrations in a country anxious to leave behind two years in which they did not celebrate the new year.

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Bangladesh celebrates its new year after two years frustrated by covid-19