There are no auspicious tmes in Dhaka. Here life does not revolve around the good and bad times as predicted by the horoscope men as ours do in Sri Lanka. Their New Year logically begins at first light when tens of thousands gather before dawn to greet the New Year with songs and parades. The song is Rabindranath Tagore’s famous song, Esho, he Boishakh, Esho Esho (Come, O Boishakh, Come, Come). Poila Boishak (also spelt as Pahela Baishakh in some newspapers), I am told is the first day of the first month of the year. I had heard of the huge crowds at Ramna Park and chickened out. If you wondered how huge is huge take a look at these photos by my friend Mahbub Alam Khan.
Celebrations of Pohela Boishakh started from Akbar’s reign. It was customary to clear up all dues on the last day of Choitro. On the next day, or the first day of the new year, landlords would entertain their tenants with sweets. On this occasion there used to be fairs and other festivities. In due course the occasion became part of domestic and social life, and turned into a day of merriment. The main event of the day was to open a halkhata or new book of accounts.
Both Bengali New Year Nôbobôrsho, and Sinhala new year “Suba Navavarsha” comes from Sanskrit Nava(new)varṣa(year
So take the Bengali Shuvo Noboborsho Replace Bangla v = b for Sinhala
Bangla b = v for Sinhala
Bangla O= a for Sinhala
And you have Shuba Navavarsha
and this is the New Year table of goodies when some Sri Lankans in Dhaka were treated by a very competent lady and her husband (they prefers to stay anonymous) but it was certainly a very good auspicious start to the year.
The cake is a new western influenced addition no doubt but below it clockwise is the traditional milk rice and bananas, followed by traditional sweets made from rice flour — aluwa, kavum, halape and kaludodol (flour and treacle gooey sweet that needs labouring for hours over a hot stove) ; thalaguli (made with sesame seeds and juggery) and milk toffee (fudge with cashew nuts) ; Athiraha ( a sweet made with mung flour and treacle) and kokis (not where’s the kiss but lightly batter fried crunchy cookies) and vadai. Photograph copyright Chulie de Silva.