This is a tale of this year's Pohela Boishakh (the first day of Bengali New Year) celebrated at The Sreepur Village. On the two-day celebration the mothers and children of Sreepur had a fabulous time.
Pohela Boishakh is a celebration like very few others. Shorn of all religious, societal or political influences, Pohela Boiishakh is a celebration simply of the people and the unifying spirit of Bengal. In an explosion of colour, every Pohela Boishakh sees Bangladeshis from all walks of life celebrating the coming year with much fun and enthusiasm. Supporting this esteem, we celebrate Pohela Boishakh at The Sreepur Village.
We began the two-day event with the Mongal Shovajatra, an integral part of the celebrations of Pohela Boishakh. All the mothers and children in the village woke up early on the first day of Boishakh of 1424 Bangla year (or 14th April 2017). They wore new clothes (as they got their yearly general dress on this day) and made their-selves up beautifully. You may be surprised by watching 400 colourfully attired people, mostly children along with mothers, dancing to the beats of drums and other Bangla folk musical instruments and Vuvuzela (not Bangla musical instruments but children like it due to its heavy rave). The mothers, children, staff and a significant number of the local community, comprising of children and women from the nearby villages, walked along the road to the nearby market (one kilometre from our campus) dressed as princes, princesses, flowers, birds etc., bearing colourful handmade animal masks and models. The local police station kindly sent policemen to oversee the safety of all those attending the celebrations.
Food is a big part of the celebration in Bangladesh. In the morning, after the rally, we gathered at our campus (in jack-fruit garden) where the amazing spread of food was served. Panta is a traditional dish of leftover rice soaked in water with fried hilsha, supplemented with shutki-bhorta (mashed dried fish) and fried red chillies were served for our mothers and children. We also served an assortment of popular Bangla food items as snacks.
After the delicious feast, Pat Kerr inaugurated the Boishakhi Mela (fair) at our campus and people from all over the community began to gather at the mela. There were various stalls set by different sections of The Sreepur Village and the local community. There were clothes, toys, foods and all-sorts of stalls. Our mothers, with their children, setup some stalls of their own as small business and received a great response. This Mela was arranged with a particular objective in mind; for our mothers and children to have the opportunity to meet and include the local community in the celebrations with a view of getting to know the people in the surrounding villages.
By the afternoon, when more people had arrived on the grounds, the festive spirit of the first day developed into full swing. On the stage, our children continuously performed different dances and music until we closed our gate in the evening. The second day of the mela was no less exciting than the first, stage performances continued with singing and dancing by the children and mothers of The Sreepur Village. It was a wonderful time for our mothers and children. They very much enjoyed the festivities and entertaining the local community on this special occasion.
Why pick The Sreepur Village as your chosen charity?
September 5 was International Day of Charity, and The Sreepur Village marked the day by asking one of its newest supporters why she supported The Sreepur Village. Sandra has, in the past, supported a number of charities like Breast Cancer, The Red Cross and Children in Need. She told us that, smaller charities like The Sreepur Village often get overseen. Sandra was particularly taken with a story she had read on Facebook which highlighted the importance of swimming lessons for children as the number of deaths from drowning in Bangladesh is staggering and she also told us that she was amazed that we were the only charity in Bangladesh to keep mothers with their children.