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April 14, 2017 – Bengali New Year

I would like to take this opportunity to wish members of the Canadian Bangladeshi community and those of Bengali heritage, Happy Pahela Baishakh.

The Bengali New Year is the first day of the Bengali calendar and is celebrated by all ethnic Bengalis, regardless of religious and regional differences.  In Bangladesh, Pahela Baishakh is a national holiday, while in West Bengal and in the northeast India states of Assam and Tripura, it is a public holiday.

Pahela Baishakh means ‘an early morning start’ and is a time of celebration and rejoicing, with grandeur and festive colours. I have had the privilege of participating in ceremonies to mark Bangla New Year.  This is a very significant time in lives of all who celebrate.

The Bengali New Year begins at dawn, and the day is marked with singing, processions, and fairs.  Like other festivals of the region, the day is marked by visiting relatives, friends and neighbours.  People prepare special dishes for their guests.  The festivities from the deep heartland of Bengal have now evolved to become big events in the cities, especially the capital Dhaka.

Our city flourishes because of the diversity of people who have chosen to make Toronto their home. Toronto’s diverse communities share and celebrate their cultures and traditions with residents in every corner of our city.

As a city proud of its multiculturalism, each and every community plays a part in enhancing Toronto’s social and cultural landscape.

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