Bangladesh suspends Pahela Baishakh celebrations amid coronavirus crisis

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2020-04-01 17:01:04 BdST


The government has moved to suspend all public programmes marking Pahela Baishakh, the Bengali New Year, as part of its efforts to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Cabinet Division on Wednesday asked the Ministry of Cultural Affairs to take the necessary steps to stop New Year celebrations across the country, including the traditional festival of the ethnic minority communities in the three districts of the Chattogram Hill Tracts.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in a video conference, instructed district administrators and field-level officials to be vigilant against public events celebrating the Bengali New Year as the government tries to limit the risks of the coronavirus.

“I think everyone can celebrate the arrival of the Bengali New Year digitally and I urge all to do so properly. But holding festivals involving huge public gatherings must be avoided at all costs. It’s my special request,” the prime minister said.

The Bengali New Year 1427 will begin on Apr 14. It forms an integral part of Bengali culture and is usually celebrated with great enthusiasm and festivity.

The morning begins with the a procession brought out from the Institute of Fine Arts, which has been recognised by UNESCO as an ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’.

Bangladesh announced a shutdown, initially from Mar 26 to Apr 4, for all government and private institutions before extending it to Apr 11, in a bid to limit the risks of coronavirus. The government has also imposed a ban on all public gatherings.