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Happy New Year!

Written by Antje on April 30th 2019 15:26

Happy 1426! Last Sunday (14th April) we celebrated the inauguration of the Bengali new year. This year it coincided with Palm Sunday. In the morning (at 7.30 am!) we had a procession with palm branches and sang ‘Hosanna, Hosanna, the Prince of Peace has come!’ Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of this. Then there was a church service to celebrate Palm Sunday. Usually Sunday is a working day and the palm procession happens in the evening, but this time it was joined with the new year festivities.

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The new year was originally celebrated with a procession. The colours people wear for the new year are red and white. Many people continue this tradition of clothing.

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Little girls don’t normally wear saris, but they do for this occasion!

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Lots of people on foot for the procession!

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When we got back to the hospital grounds there was a dance, accompanied by a professional percussion band which was hired especially for the occasion. 

If you look carefully you can spot me also dancing – the tallest person in the group ;-)

 

Then there was a ‘Pantha bhat’: a traditional meal. This originates from the time when people cooked rice once every day, before refrigerators. Rice was stored in a layer of water. By morning was it slightly fermented. Ours was not fermented and tasted better ;-). It was served with a piece of fish, spinach and seasoned mashed potato. As you can see, it was popular (and free!).

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Serving the meal.

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This is how it was eaten.

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At the end of the day there was a three-hour cultural program in which children and adults could perform with singing and dancing. I made a short video of a group of our staff and student nurses who are descended from the Santal ethnic group and who performed a traditional dance. This dance is a little like the one I had taken part in earlier in the day.

I hope you had a very Happy Easter!!

Antje