Photos and Text: Stefano Romano
“On 14 April the New Year of Bangladesh begins. Bengali New Year is known as Pôhela Boishakh (পহেলাবৈশাখ) and corresponds to the first day according to the Bengali Calendar celebrated throughout Bangladesh and West Bengal, as far as the community in Assam, Tripura, Odisha and Kolkata. The start day is usually April 14, according to the official calendar of the Bangla Academy. We’re talking about a tradition that refers to the Hindu solar calendar. That which began yesterday is the year 1421.
In Bangladesh it’s a very important day. It’s the beginning of all activities related to trade, because it’s considered auspicious, and this also applies for weddings. The New Year is closely linked with rural life in Bengal. So in the morning you get up early, cleaning the house and dresses well. Women with red-rimmed white sari, flowers in the hair and bindi between the eyes; men with long tunics (kurta). Tradition dictates that you wait for the dawn of the first day under a tree or on the banks of a river. They thus beginning the festivities that last about a week.
In Rome, the first day of Pôhela was held in a beautiful old park, called Park of the Aqueducts, under the walls of an ancient Roman aquaduct.
I bring you through the beauty of this people, in their colors and beautiful faces; among children from the magnificent eyes, mothers and daughters and clothes from fine fabrics, so that the beauty of the faces become the beauty of a culture and a people.”