Bangladesh celebrates 3 New Years this year

Sir Frank Peters

2020 will be a year full of fun, celebrations, and joyful activities.

It will be written in the annals of history, as the year Bengalis celebrated not one, not two, but three New Years! Yes, three! It might even warrant a Guinness Book of Records certificate.

Bangabandhu yearThe first New Year celebration has already been, gone, and given its annual due revelry treatment (January 01, 2020).
The second is about to happen – Bangabandhu Year 2020 (March 17, 2020 – March 16 2021) and the third Pahela Baishakh or Bangla Noboborsho, will follow on 14 April.
Bangabandhu Year 2020, most probably, will be the most exciting one of all three. It’s the one everyone has been awaiting and eagerly looking forward to celebrating.

Never before in the history of Bangladesh has an event been given so much advance publicity. Every online news portal and newspaper in the land has been running countdown clocks on their front pages. Every television broadcast has had a countdown clock obtrusively plastered across their transmissions.

Even business persons who’ve only visited Bangladesh for a day this year have come to know March 17 is the 100th birth anniversary of Bangabandhu, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Father of the Nation and foremost hero of Bangladesh. There’s been no escape from its media bombardment.

What exactly will happen on March 17, the culmination of the huge build-up? Right now it’s the mystery of the year. To the best of my knowledge there’s been nothing reported in the media, which I find rather strange as if the ensuring celebrations were a national secret, but I guess it won’t be long before all will be revealed and everything becomes clear.

Of all the three New Year celebrations this year, it’s a foregone conclusion that Bangabandhu Year 2020 will be the most outstanding, celebrated and remembered above all. And, unlike the other two, may have the added bonus of joining the majority of Bengalis in heart, spirit, patriotism and moving the nation forward at an accelerated pace.

Traditionally, resolutions are part and parcel of New Years.
People resolve to continue good practices, change an undesired trait or behavior, to accomplish a personal goal, or otherwise improve their life or the lives of others.

Bangabandhu Year 2020 gives those who failed to keep their traditional 2020 New Year resolutions/promises another chance to revive and make good. I have my own personal goals that need a ‘one-time’ band-aid here and there for repair.

If I were granted one wish in Bangabandhu Year 2020, however, that would have to be zero tolerance of corporal punishment in schools, madrassahs, homes – in all settings.

It’s impossible for Bangladesh to move forward into the future, as it ought, and leave broken children – the future of the nation – in its downdraft turbulence for future generations to pick-up and attempt to repair.

What a befitting, unique and priceless 100th birthday gift it would be to Bangabandhu if there were no corporal punishment in Bangladesh and its youth – his children  – were confidently marching towards becoming outstanding citizens and helping to fulfill his dream of a Sonar Bangla. That’s a dream that could transform into reality and, hopefully, it will.

Meanwhile, let’s join in the spirit of the occasion that will be echoed across the globe through the international media and Bengalis abroad. Let us revel in the unique opportunity, spread goodwill, and wish our friends and loved ones a happy Bangabandhu 2020 New Year!

(Sir Frank Peters is a former newspaper and magazine publisher and editor, an award-winning writer, a royal goodwill ambassador and humanitarian. (