Google Celebrating Pohela Boishakh
First Day of Bengali Calendar Pohela Boishakh
April 14, 2017
Today’s doodle marks Pohela Boishakh, the first day of the Bengali Calendar. While Pohela Boishakh is a lively festival today, its origins are less fanciful. The Bengali calendar year was developed over 400 years ago by the Emperor Akbar as a way to collect taxes on a specific date every year. When the new year begins, accountants can close their books on the previous year and start fresh.
On this day in Bangladesh, the country comes alive with colorful celebrations and parades. Cities and towns gather together to sing traditional songs like “Esho, he Boishakh”. They eat Bengali food such as Panta bhaat (a dish of rice soaked in water), and Illish Maas (fried hilsa fish). The main attraction in the capital city of Dhaka is the large Mangal Shobhajatra procession. The streets fill up with a parade of huge masks and creatures, each with its own symbolism, but many meant to drive away evil spirits or inspire courage and peace. The masks are often vibrant and imaginative representations of animals native to Bangladesh, like the owl and tiger you see in today’s doodle.
(Happy New Year!)