It happened a few months late, but people in Winnipeg’s Bangladeshi community were finally able to celebrate one of their biggest events of the year on Sunday.
Pohela Boishakh, also known as Bangla New Year 1429, was actually in mid-April.
But organizers said the poor weather in Manitoba at the time, as well as the fact that it fell in the middle of Ramadan, prompted them to move the cultural celebration forward.
Finally, organizing the celebration meant a lot to the community, said Mahid Ahsan.
“It’s a little piece of Bangladesh that we look forward to every year,” said Ahsan, a member of the Canada-Bangladesh Association of Manitoba, which organized the event.
As Winnipeg’s Bangladeshi community continues to grow, Ahsan said the annual celebration is a good way for newcomers to connect with people who have been in Canada longer.
“It’s a great platform for new people to meet old people, which is a great lesson,” he said.
“I feel really honoured. I feel really prestigious to be a member of [this] community trying to keep our piece of culture here. »
Shopon Miah and his wife, Sonia Akter, were delighted to bring traditional Bangladeshi dishes like haleem and beef biryani to the celebration.
Miah said she has noticed a huge jump in the size of the community since arriving in Canada in 2011.
“The community, day by day, is getting better,” he said.
“Before, it wasn’t too much. But now, it’s day to day [going] at the top.”
Sharif Islam, president of the Canada-Bangladesh Association of Manitoba, said Pohela Boishakh is an important tradition in the Bangladeshi community that dates back 500 years.
Islam’s wife, Samira Kamal, said she was looking forward to all the cultural events planned for the day, including traditional foods, dancing, songs and a fashion show. Kamal was among many present at the event wearing the color red, which she says represents the new beginning of a new year.
“It’s a big day for our community, it’s a big celebration,” she said.
And all those exhibits didn’t come together overnight, said Reza Quadir, another member of the Canada-Bangladesh Association of Manitoba, pointing to a decorated stage he says was created by volunteers.
“It takes a lot of work, that’s for sure,” he said.
Pohela Boishakh’s celebration was held at the South Winnipeg Community Center on Silverstone Avenue.