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Important buildings and establishments as well as city streets and islands are generally illuminated with colourful lights and graffiti painted on the walls signifying the arts, culture and heritage of the country.

But this year all programmes have been cancelled as the second wave of the global pandemic Covid-19 has exposed the country into a worsening state infecting more people and calming more lives compared to the first wave.

President M Abdul Hamid and prime minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages on the occasion of the Pahela Baishakh.

The Dhaka University Fine Arts Faculty organised Mongol Shobhajatra, a traditional colorful procession, the main attraction of the Bangla New Year like the previous years, but in a very limited scale.

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State minister for cultural affairs KM Khalid and Dhaka University vice chancellor M Akhtaruzzaman led the symbolic Mongol Shobhajatra in the morning.

However, following the government directives, the Pahela Baishakh could be celebrated through virtual media.

State-run Bangladesh Television (BTV) and Bangladesh Betar and other radio and TV channels have been broadcasting the New Year programmes.

The programmes of the day usually begin in the city with the musical soiree of Chhayanat, a leading cultural organisation of the country, at Ramna Batamul at dawn. But this year recorded traditional songs of the organisation and its President Sanjida Khatun’s recorded message “Kathan”, and dance performances of leading artistes were aired on televisions. Chhayanaut's programmes can be enjoyed from the organisation's youtube channel www.youtube.com/chayanautDigitalPlatform.

Business communities, especially in the rural areas, generally open their traditional “Halkhata”, new account books on that day while traders also offer sweets to customers.

Different national dailies published colourful supplements highlighting the significance of Pahela Baishakh.

Some historians attribute the Bengali calendar to the 7th century king Shashanka, which was later modified by Mughal emperor Akbar for the purpose of tax collection.

During the Mughal rule, land taxes were collected from Bengali people according to the Islamic Hijri calendar. This calendar was a lunar calendar, and its new year did not coincide with the solar agricultural cycles.

Akbar asked the royal astronomer Fathullah Shirazi to create a new calendar by combining the lunar Islamic calendar and solar Hindu calendar already in use, and this was known as Fasholi shan (harvest calendar).

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