It’s time to celebrate the coming of spring, at least that’s true if you observe Pahela Falgun, the holiday for the Bengali people that marks the beginning of spring according to the Bengali community in greater Sacramento.
On Saturday, the group celebrated the year’s beginning at Folsom High School with music, dancing, food and all other trappings of a typical close-knit community get-together. Attendees wore bright colors of red, yellow and orange to honor the event.
Saquib Najmus, the organizer of the event, said it’s a way for the younger generation to connect with their traditions that are call Bangladesh and eastern provinces of India home.
“We want to make sure our children are connected to our roots. To show our children how rich our culture is and to also bring it here.” he said.
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Around the world, more than 261 million share the ethnic group’s heritage and language, according to the website Ethnologue, which traces languages of the world. About 250,000 people in the United States trace their ancestry to the Bengal region of South Asia.
Md Haque, a representative of the Bengali community of Sacramento echoed Najmus’ words about passing on their traditions.
“We want to make sure our children are informed about their heritage. And at the same time, we want to promote culture diversity in the Sacramento area.” he said.
Pahela Falgun was started by students at a university in India in 1991, according to the Daily Star, Bangladesh’s largest newspaper based in Dhaka. It was an attempt to hold onto the traditions of their people so that they would not be forgotten. Typically, the event is held on Feb. 13.
The celebration is meant to mark the end of dullness, which winter is synonymous with according to Haque.
“When the dull winter ends, the color of spring and flowers return. It inspires people and it feels like life is back.” he said.