Mangal Shobhajatra on Pahela Baishakh

Inscribed in 2016 (11.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© Bangla Academy 2014
Mangal Shobhajatra is a festival organized by students and teachers of Dhaka University’s Faculty of Fine Art in Bangladesh open to the public to celebrate Pahela Baishakh (New Year’s Day). Taking place on April 14, the tradition of Mangal Shobhajatra began in 1989 when students, frustrated with having to live under military rule, wanted to bring people in the community hope for a better future. Members of the university faculty work together a month before the festival to create masks (said to drive away evil forces and allow for progress) and floats. Among works made for the festival at least one will represent evil, another courage and strength and a third, peace. Items to sell on the day are also produced as a source of funding, such as paintings on Bangladesh folk heritage. The Mangal Shobhajatra festival symbolizes the pride the people of Bangladesh have in their folk heritage, as well as their strength and courage to fight against sinister forces, and their vindication of truth and justice. It also represents solidarity and a shared value for democracy, uniting people irrespective of caste, creed, religion, gender or age. Knowledge and skills are transmitted by students and teachers within the community.
A pair of birds being ready in the campus of the Faculty of Art for Mangal Shobhajatra on Pahela Baishahk. These two birds, symbolic of asupiciousness, will be in front of the vibrant procession.
A reptile being ready in the campus of the Faculty of Art for Mangal Shobhajatra on Pahela Baishakh. The reptile signifies the sinister forces against which the people are determined to fight to safeguard democracy and their freedom.
A student of the Faculty of Fine Art painting a mask for use in Mangal Shobhajatra on Pahela Baishakh. The activists carry a wide range of colourful masks when they participate in the vibrant procession on 14 April.
Two students of the Faculty of Fine Art painting masks for use in Mangal Shobhajatra on Pahela Baishakh.
Large artifacts made by the students under the supervision of their teachers have been placed on hand-pulled carts in the campus of the Faculty of Fine Art jsut before the beginning of Mangal Shobhajatra on Pahela Baishakh.
Thousands of people participating in Mangal Shobhajatra on Pahela Baishakh organized annually by the teachers and students of the Faculty of Fine Art of the University of Dhaka in Dhaka City.
A colossal monster breathing out menacingly is seen in Mangal Shobhajatra on Pahela Baishakh. It also signifies the sinister forces.
A white dove is seen in Mangal Shobhajatra on Pahela Baishakh. It symbolizes peace.
Revellers dressed as typical Bangalee farmers are seen in Mangal Shobhajatra on Pahela Baishakh.
Activits carrying colourful masks make a spectacular scene in Mangal Shobhajatra on Pahela Baishakh.
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