Eid and Pahela Baishakh celebrated in San Antonio

Singing at the BASA event

Bangladeshi expatriates are actively engaged in promoting and preserving Bengali culture, heritage, and traditions in foreign lands. Living thousands of miles away from family and friends in Bangladesh, my experience has been a testament to the resilience of the Bangladeshi community abroad. This April, amidst the bustling city of San Antonio, Texas, I witnessed the convergence of two significant cultural milestones: the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr on 10 April and the vibrant festivities of Pahela Baishakh on 14 April.

Despite the distance from the homeland, Bangladeshis in San Antonio gathered with enthusiasm to commemorate these occasions. On Eid day, after performing Eid prayers, visits to Bangladeshi families provided a great opportunity to exchange greetings and enjoy sweets and delicious foods. I observed Bangladeshis celebrating Eid individually, in groups, and through various events throughout the city.

Through these celebrations, Bangladeshis not only embrace the past but also pave the way for a vibrant and interconnected future, bridging the gap between our homeland and our adopted home.

One such event was organized by the Bangladeshi Association in San Antonio (BASA), serving as a poignant reminder of our deep-rooted connection to Bengali culture and traditions.

At the heart of the celebrations was a spirit of unity and resilience. BASA not only facilitated the jubilant festivities but also recognized the academic achievements of 15 Bangladeshi students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, and PhD studies in San Antonio. During the reception, San Antonio City Mayor Ron Nirenberg presented scholarships adorned with cash awards, certificates, and frames, highlighting the community's commitment to nurturing future generations.

The festivities were a delight, showcasing a kaleidoscope of Bengali culture. From traditional songs and dances to delectable Bengali cuisine, including bhorta, bhajis, curries, and homemade sweets, attendees reveled in the richness of our heritage. Children, youths, and adults alike participated in cultural performances, recitations of Bengali poetry, and staged dramas.

This year’s BASA scholarship recipients include Kazi Sufia Jahan, Anika Ibnat, Kashfia Hassan, Rakibul Shohan, Md. Imran Hasan, Mehnaz Abid, Sudman Sakib Nuhash, Aliya Islam, Shimul Debnath, Prianka Rani Saha, Md Mohsin, Mahmud Mostafa, Marium Begum, Nujhat Sayma, and Md Owasim Uddin Bhuyan.

The Bangladeshi Association in San Antonio, Texas, is dedicated to fostering cultural, social, and educational activities while providing support and networking opportunities for its members. It aims to create a sense of community and belonging for Bangladeshis living in the area. In addition to cultural events, BASA is actively involved in educational initiatives, including providing scholarships and academic support to Bangladeshi students pursuing higher education in San Antonio.

Prior to the community-wide celebration, Bangladeshi students at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) marked the occasion with their own fervent observance. Across disciplines, Bangladeshi students joined together on campus to honor the Bengali New Year, further solidifying the significance of these cultural traditions within our academic community.

These moments stand testament to the resilience and strength embedded within the Bangladeshi diaspora. Despite the challenges of distance and separation, the Bangladeshi community in San Antonio remains steadfast in preserving Bengali cultural identity and heritage. Through these celebrations, Bangladeshis not only embrace the past but also pave the way for a vibrant and interconnected future, bridging the gap between our homeland and our adopted home.

**Md Owasim Uddin Bhuyan is a freelance journalist, currently studying communications at UTSA