Pohela Boishakh 2019 – As the sun moves from Pisces to Aries, the vernal equinox draws near and Bengali people prepare for the New Year’s celebration known as Pohela Boishakh—Pohela meaning “first,” and Boishakh being the first month in the Bangla or Bong Calendar which is the official calendar of Bangladesh.
Pohela Boishakh is a chance to make a fresh start, marked often by thorough house-cleanings followed by the creation of a colorful alpana on the floor of each home. Rice, flour, colored sand, and flower petals are used to make the geometric design, and in the center, an earthenware pot is placed containing holy water and mango leaves to symbolize prosperity and good fortune. Bengalis will sometimes also visit a nearby river to say prayers and bathe in preparation for the year ahead.
A time of hope and joy, Pohela Boishakh is marked by traditional song and dance, reciting of poems, and festive processions through the streets. In the capital city of Dhaka, thousands of students wearing masks participate in a festival known as Mangal Shobhajatra. Colorful bamboo figures of animals—like the Bengal tiger seen in today’s animated Doodle—are carried above the crowd, along with flying birds, elephants, and more. In fact, students from Dhaka University’s Faculty of Fine Art began this tradition in 1989, and in 2016 it was inscribed on UNESCO’s list of humanity’s Intangible Culture Heritage!
Happy Pohela Boishakh!
You can find more about Pohela Boishakh 2019 on the official Google Doodle Page