Boishakhi Mela – New Year Festival - Celebrated in Davis
By Ras Hafiz Siddiqui
The Bangladeshi community is emerging in this part of California and events like this one are a welcome sign of the wholesome change
When we received an email from the local Bangladeshi community to come and celebrate Boishakhi Mela (New Year Festival) with them in Davis, California, the first thing that came to mind was the huge traffic problem faced last year because of “ Earth Day” or “Picnic Day” in this college town was on the same day as this event. The traffic to Davis from Sacramento was so bad that many, including us, had to turn back.
Thankfully, this year the same event was held on April 10 th and Earth Day was on the following weekend, so this time we made it to the venue. The area Bangladeshi community, the aroma of fine foods and the colors of Bengal, dominated the packed hall of a local school as the celebration of Bengali New Year 1417 was going on in full swing with children performing a wonderful dance on stage to familiar music.
The program was dicided into various segments such as “Esho He Boishakh” (Welcome New Year), Banglar Mukh Ami Dekhiachi (Kids Show), Kori O Komol (Children’s performance), Nithua Pathare (Songs), Pagla Hawa (Dance) and E Shudu Ganer Din (Today is for Songs). Guided by the adults, the children did a wonderful job and the spirit of the event was well represented in their performance.
The other attraction for us is always the food, and this time again the Jhal Muri, authentic Dhaka Chomchom (not the common imitations) along with Rosogolla, Bangla Paan and Ilish Mach and Bhat were as delicious as ever. The only thing missing was the Bogra style “Dohi” or date palm yogurt, but nevertheless the cuisine available was excellent.
The Bangladeshi community is emerging in this part of California and events like this one are a welcome sign of that fact. Davis is famous for its University of California Campus and the surrounding area has a century of history involving South Asians (Indians and Pakistanis) who arrived here from Punjab and the Frontier area in the very early 1900’s. The Bangladeshi community here is smaller but well represented in technology companies like Intel in nearby Folsom.
The finale of the program included a raffle prize drawing for a Dhaka Jamdani Sari. Congratulations are in order to the winner of the raffle along with the organizers of this program and the children who performed. The event was conducted exclusively in Bangla/ Bengali language, and next year with hopefully a bigger venue and more locals attending, some inclusion of English may help those whose Bangla skills are weak or non-existent. Happy Bengali New Year to all our readers from Sacramento, California’s capital city and from the college town of Davis. Shuvo Nabo Barsho.