Then we got dressed in our New Year’s outfits. My host mum grabbed a pile of safety pins and began to help me put on my shari. Sharis, the traditional dress for Bangladeshi women, consist of a long length of fabric that is wrapped, folded and pinned around the body. For Pohela Boishakh the traditional shari colour is red, along with a handmade flower crown.
The boys from our team wore panjabis, loose long shirts worn over trousers by men on special occasions.
We went out to join the procession; a walk around the community with lots of singing and drumming as everyone came together to begin celebrating. With music blaring out of a big loudspeaker, we were taught some traditional dance moves by the ladies, while snacks and drinks were handed around.
Painting the floor red
Another key tradition for Bangladeshi New Year is not painting the town red, but the floor. Painting patterns onto the ground, known as alpona, is an integral part of New Year celebrations. We spent New Year’s Eve decorating our office floors and trying to avoid our work getting washed away by the huge thunderstorms.