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by Faruque Azam
A group of Bangladeshi-expats organized a unique festival in Holmdel Park, Holmdel NJ (USA). They brought out the flavor of Pahela Boisakh as if they were in Bangladesh’s Ramna Park. Instead of the shade of Banyan Tree, it was held in the shade of Forest Edge Picnic Shelter.
The morning started with savory panta ilish and snacks for all from Dunkin Donuts contributed by Akbar Hossain, Bablu, and Parvin. The sari stalls and pitha stalls attracted everyone like the bees on flower.
A children’s dance event was choreographed by the organizers, which stole the hearts of all. Though there were no electrical outlets at the shade, the spirit of celebration remained untamed. They immediately arranged for a battery operated Karaoke. Traditional Boisakhi songs were played.
There were games and sports for all ages. Kids roamed free under supervision, they played, laughed and basked in the glorious sun. The temperature was most favorable, though in the 80’s there was a cool breeze and clouds covered the intensity of heat.
Dunkin Donuts gift cards were given as prizes for the winners in the games. This was a different from the confined, four-walled, weekend dawats the community was use to. This breaking of the barrier and taking people out into nature was a praiseworthy. The event was discussed on the local Indian radio station FM 101.5.
The day ended at the setting of the sun under a crimson sky and singing “Esho He Boisakh”. It was just the beginning of another New Year. Shuvo Naboborsho!