The world’s most popular search engine has created a doodle depicting the Mongol Shobhajatra procession to welcome Pohela Boishakh, the first day of the Bangla new year.
Today’s Doodle celebrates Pohela Boishakh, the day when colorful street festivals mark the start of a new year in the lunisolar calendar. The calendar was originally commissioned by the Mughal Emperor, Akbar, who introduced the calendar to facilitate tax collections in the spring—just after the harvest.
Pohela Boishakh is a time to start fresh. People often celebrate by cleaning their entire home and decorating it with Alpana, a colorful painting made from rice and flour paste. The holiday is best known for its colorful celebrations and parades, like the one that takes place in Dhaka, (the capital of Bangladesh) every year.
In Dhaka, streets are filled with people who come to take part in the Mangal Shobhajatra procession. The procession was first organized in 1989 by the Faculty of Fine Arts at Dhaka University in order to symbolize peace and unity regardless of religion, gender, class, or age. The most iconic feature of the processions are the giant, colorful, representations of animals—like the elephant in today’s Doodle!
The doodle, featuring most iconic feature of the processions are the giant, colorful, representations of animals—like the elephant in today’s Doodle!
Mongol Shobhajatra was inscribed on Unesco’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The procession, introduced in Jessore in 1985 and replicated in Dhaka since 1989, features large colourful masks, carnival floats of birds and animals, and other motifs of Bangladeshi culture.
Over the years, it has become a key element of the Pohela Boishakh celebrations among Bangalis at home and abroad.
Radical Islamist groups and parties have been demanding that the procession be scrapped, dubbing it “anti-Islamic”.
Pohela Boishakh celebrations started during Mughal Emperor Akbar’s reign, when it was customary to clear all dues on the last day of the Bangla month Chaitra as businessmen would open “halkhata”- new books of accounts for the new year.
Google Doodle is a special, temporary alteration of the logo on Google’s homepage that is intended to celebrate holidays, events, achievements and people. The doodle was introduced in 1998.
Shubho Noboborsho! (Happy New Year!)