No Pahela Baishakh celebrations this year, says Hasina

  • Staff Corresspondent,
    Published: 2020-03-31 16:10:53 BdST


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged citizens not to hold any public programme to mark the upcoming Pahela Baishakh - the Bangla New Year - amid growing fears over a coronavirus outbreak.

The premiere made the remarks while handing out instructions on the prevention of the novel coronavirus outbreak to field-level administration officers, including deputy commissioners, across Bangladesh through videoconferencing from her official residence Ganabhaban on Tuesday.

“I think people can celebrate the Bangla New Year programme digitally. But there must not be any huge public celebrations. This is my special request."

Celebrations of Pahela Baishakh have become an integral part of Bengali culture.

Mughal Emperor Akbar introduced the Bengali calendar in the year 1556 of the Gregorian calendar to streamline the collection of land taxes in the then 'Subah Bangla', much of which is now in Bangladesh.

The traditional procession taken out on the Bangla New Year has been put on UNESCO's "List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity".

Bangladesh had announced the closure of all government and private offices and courts amid mounting fears of the coronavirus. It also imposed a ban on all public gatherings.

“I have decided to halt all programmes for the welfare of the people,” Hasina said.