April 14, 2019 – Bengali New Year
I would like to take this opportunity to wish members of the Canadian Bangladeshi community and those of Bengali heritage a Happy Pahela Baishakh or Bengali New Year.
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 Bengali 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 Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka.
Toronto is a proud multicultural City that embraces a wide variety of cultures and faiths. Our City flourishes because of the diversity of people who have chosen to make Toronto their home. It is important to recognize each and every community that plays a part in enhancing Toronto’s social and cultural landscape.
As the Newcomer’s Advocate with the City of Toronto I strongly believe that we must work to together to promote togetherness. We must Respect our newcomer communities. We must Accept our newcomer communities. We should Celebrate our diversity and Embrace our different cultures and traditions, because we are all part of the human RACE.